It has by become a tradition for me to participate in the food blog review by the German blog Feed me up before you go go. Each year, eight questions are answered, and a summary is drawn. You can read my food blog review from 2022, 2021, 2020 und 2019 here. My overall conclusion after six years of blogging? I still enjoy it, and there are still people who recreate the recipes. Indeed, the number of visitors and clicks grows every year, so I will certainly continue blogging in 2024, as far as I’m concerned. But now, let’s move on to the questions.
#1 What was your most successful blog post in 2023?
I’m pleased that the all-time favorite brownie cookies was actually surpassed by the strawberry tiramisu, and the cookies only made it to second place. Overall, I’m surprised and delighted that many of the recipes introduced this year made it into the top 10. In total, six recipes from 2023 made it into the top 10, which is really a great result, isn’t it? I want to give special mention to the lightning-fast lemon dessert, which made it to sixth place, and the Kaiserschmarrn with plum compote (seventh place) (see smaller photos). I’m proud of all of them.
#2 Which three of your own blog articles from this year meant the most to you personally?
At the top is my article on the topic of medical gaslighting. Since there was a suspicion of the chronic illness MS I may have, I’ve been through quite a marathon of doctor visits, and I find it incredibly sad that so many doctors believe one is imagining their symptoms. I haven’t felt taken seriously. Spoiler: I don’t have the sickness, thank God.
The most emotional connection I have is with these mini rolls that taste similar to brioche: Twoiback, reflecting my Russian-German background. I hadn’t eaten them for so long, and it was nice to finally make some myself.
Russian-German twoiback, similar to brioche
I also have to mention the dumplings from Russia or Ukraine, pelmeni. While preparing these tiny dumplings, I felt extremely nostalgic. They taste so much better when homemade and can be easily frozen. In the blog post, you can also read about a mishap we had while shaping the Pelmeni.
#3 And which three from other blogs have inspired you the most?
I am fascinated by Los de ñam, two guys from Colombia/Venezuela who finally publish Colombian recipes with measurements in Spanish on Instagram and TikTok. This is quite rare; so far, I’ve had to keep trying until I got the right measurements. In Latin America, baking and cooking are almost never done with precise measurements, and they get by without a scale. Their cookbook is at the top of my wishlist, but I haven’t gotten it yet because the high shipping and customs fees for imports from Colombia have deterred me. If someone is flying to South America soon and could bring it back for me, please get in touch. And no, an e-book is not a good alternative for me; I need it physically in front of me.
Heading in a completely different direction is Kwun from Thailand with her Instagram profile Butter and Blossoms. Earlier this year, I started painting cakes with a palette and buttercream. I created a cake with a floral pattern (bottom left) and the world map cakes (right). Kwun has mega-inspired me in this regard. I definitely want to book an online course with her soon and learn even more in this area.
And number 3 is clearly Rosie Grant, who publishes recipes she finds on tombstones on her Instagram profile Ghostly Archive and recreates them. What may sound strange at first glance is actually a beautiful thing on closer inspection. Of course, there aren’t many graves with engraved recipes; it’s usually quite expensive. However, she encourages her followers to send her recipes from tombstones. Most of them come from the USA, but she has also recreated one from Israel. There is even an article about her in the Süddeutsche, which you can read here. With the recipes, she tries to understand who the person behind it was and why this recipe was deemed so important that it was chiseled into the tombstone. This means it’s also about passing down family recipes, the importance of food, and the question of how to deal with death. Rosie tries to visit the graves and brings the appropriately made recipe each time, which she then eats at the tombstone. It’s perhaps an unusual perspective on the topic of food, but I find it somehow touching.
#4 Which of the recipes you published in 2023 have you cooked the most yourself – and why?
Clearly, empanadas, the turnovers from South America. Because these turnovers can be filled with so many variations, frozen, and originate from Latin America. What more could you want? My latest empanada recipe was these empanadas from Argentina. The dough is prepared with milk, making it particularly smooth. For a variety of recipes and information about empanadas, check out my empanada school.
#5 What cooking or blogging problem occupied you in 2023? And did you solve it?
I always have various questions on my mind. I had planned to give online baking courses, and I did organize one for my colleagues. We baked Christmas cookies, including Linzer and chocolate hazelnut sticks. I particularly liked that children, husbands, and even pets were involved. But if I’m honest, I would have liked to do much more, but it’s always challenging when you have a full-time job and things get busy at work during the Christmas season. But maybe it will work in 2024. At least I was able to attend a course as a participant with Jasmin from the German blog Küchendeern, in which we prepared the delicious Dominosteintorte over two evenings. Jasmin is a very patient teacher and helped me overcome my fear of gelatin.
I made this delicious Dominostein cake as a participant over the course of two evenings
#6 What was your biggest culinary discovery this year – which food, recipe, kitchen technique, or flavor opened up a completely new world for you?
It may sound silly, but I actually discovered corn for myself. Unfortunately, here in Germany, you mostly find sweet corn, but there are incredibly many different varieties in Latin America. At the moment, I’m experimenting with how to make a version of the famous Colombian corn cakes, called arepas, here in Germany. Arepas de choclo are made with sweet corn and have a slightly sweet taste. I’ve already successfully tried it once, see pictured below. Let’s see when I’ve tested it enough to put the recipe on the blog.
#7 What was the best (or funniest) search term through which visitors found your blog?
Not a search term, but sometimes you wonder about comments. I once deleted a comment where the person complained about the healthy melon cake recipe, saying that the cake being made of melon shouldn’t be called a cake because that would be misleading. I don’t even know if there’s a better term; after all, it looks like a cake and is made of melon, so melon cake seemed appropriate. One wonders why someone goes to the trouble of writing this comment to complain about a simple fact. And yes, I take the liberty of deleting or not publishing comments. That seems to surprise some people too. Folks, I’m not a machine that produces articles here; I’m a human being. If a comment seems senseless, doesn’t fit the theme, or becomes offensive, it won’t be published. After all, I run this blog privately and have the freedom to handle it as I wish.
#8 What do you wish for yourself and your blog in 2024?
As in previous years, I wish that more readers dare to ask their questions. Whether through social media, as a comment, or via email, only when I receive feedback, if something isn’t working or is unclear, can I make changes and improvements. Of course, I aim to have the recipes written in a clear manner so that they can be successfully recreated at home. But if someone gives a super negative review without any comment, I can’t improve anything. Dear readers, reach out; I don’t bite. I try to respond as quickly as possible. I love seeing photos of your results and enjoy exchanging ideas. I’m not a baking goddess; I make mistakes too. Together we can learn, and together we can bake wonderful creations. I even got into a lively exchange with a reader who also lives in Munich; she had to bake a wedding cake for the first time, so I could provide mental support and also lent her some cake utensils. I’m happy to connect.