It's been a great year, with some fantastic writing, cooking and food styling projects and with more exciting projects on the go, this industry never ceases to amaze me with hidden unexpected surprises.
We shared the herb love at one of our favourite food festivals this year. Hertford Town Council organise a great food festival and I was lucky to share the stage with Chef of the year Hayden Groves as I demonstrated my Humble Herb recipes on the cookery stage for a second year, adding some Halloween foodie fun.
For me, it was off to spend the next few weeks as a judge for the Hertfordhire Life Magazine Food & Drink Awards. I simply loved being on the judging panel and very honoured to be alongside some prestigious names in the food industy such as Harry Lomas MBE head chef of the Grove Hotel in Watford, Chef Saira Hamilton, food photographer & columnist Sharon Struckman, Andrei Lussman owner Lussman`s restaurants and Joe from Joe & Seph’s popcorn enterprise, not forgetting the amazing team at Hertfordshire Life Magazine, who really laid on a fantastic awards ceremony.
While everybody is out wrestling the busy shops, I simply try to avoid the insane madness every year, for all that know me, know me, know how I hate shopping. Just seeing sheer panic on people's faces having to purchase gifts, having to face the shops around Christmas is not my idea of festive fun. I therefore try to shop as local as possible with little effort supporting my local community and it's fantastic just how many producers are actually on your doorstep. When your food shopping try to use your local farm shop, they have some great ways to help you produce the perfect festive feast and try to support your local farmer who has spent the last six months rearing and nurturing your Christmas dinner, it's lovely feeling to know exactly where your food comes from.
If your Christmas is anything like my house, it's totally full for most of the day with family and friends popping in or staying for the important Christmas dinner. My cooking takes over, for a few days in the humble kitchen leading up to the big day and with little time on my hands, it's important for me to make Christmas lunch simple but special. In my mind if it all goes wrong, just pour yourself and your guests a glass of bubbly and nobody will even notice anyway! Just having fun with all my family at home is enough for me, so I try to introduce something a little more special every year.
So after a busy year and hoping for a good rest, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Tina is the founder of Humble Herbs Products and the author of 'A Cooks Guide to Herbs'