Well, this is going to be my last posting for 2010, and so as a way of signing off for the year, I thought I'd hand out some 'Best Of The Year' type awards for everything from the Plant of the Year (POTY) through to meals of the year (MOTY), book of the year (BOTY), movie of the year (MOTY) etc. You get the idea, so it's on with the show.
Envelope, please, glamorous assistant..... the 2010 Plant of the Year is....
Mrs Lithops! Well, a runaway winner is Mrs Lithops. She has starred in numerous 2010 blog postings, here, here and here. And she has been through family tragedies, the change of life, plus unanimous 'on the voices' election as Mayor of Succulent City (in which she has led them all superbly through a very wet spring, with no casualties). And she has achieved all this with a quiet, demure-but-strong demeanour. Well done, and congratulations, Mrs Lithops.
The second set of awards go the meals of the year, the yummiest food we encountered during 2010. The winner of dish of the year (DOTY) in the home-cooked division is....
Chermoula! This spicy North African blend of cumin, garlic, parsley, coriander, olive oil, paprika, cayenne, lemon juice, salt and pepper was this year's discovery in the kitchen, which I blogged about here. We combined chermoula with everything from fish to chicken and lamb, always with plenty of vegetables and couscous too, and it never let us down, and often thrilled us.
The award for DOTY, in the eating-out restaurant division, unfortunately doesn't come with a photo, but there was a joint winner, fortunately at the same Japanese restaurant, Azuma, in Chifley Square in the city. This very plain and sedate looking, wood-lined dining room was where Pammy and I had our 21st wedding anniversary dinner in June, and she absolutely loved the tissue-thin slices of fish, and the dressing, in the Kingfish Carpaccio there, while I just couldn't believe how incredibly yummy a Seaweed Salad could be, until I tasted Azuma's. No other Japanese restaurant comes close.
And now, a few other awards in the 'lifestyle' category...
Book of the Year (BOTY): '1959' by Fred Kaplan, a fascinating retelling of all the things that happened back in the year 1959. I won't bore you silly with a recounting of all the contents, but my poor friends were bored silly by me telling them what an entertaining read it was over several dinners in the middle of the year. Sucker for non-fiction, I'm afraid. Close second was one for the political junkies, Race of a Lifetime, by John Halperin and Mark Heilemann, a fast-paced, gossipy account of the 2008 US Presidential campaign.
Gardening book of the year (GBOTY): aw, shucks, it's Organic, by Don Burke, the book that I worked on, and which spent most of the year as Number One best-selling gardening book here in Australia. That was such a thrill that I surprised myself at how excited I was about its success.
Film of the year (FOTY): so hard to choose! I loved two French films with Vincent Lindon – 'Welcome' and 'Madamoiselle Chambon' – but the boy in me couldn't go past another wonderful pair of French films starring Vincent Cassell, the true, sometimes romantic, often violent, anarchic and chaotic story of France's Public Enemy Number One in the 1970s, Mesrine. Slight cheating here, as we saw Part One of the two-part epic back in December 09, then we saw Part Two around April this year. Pam and I see lots and lots of movies, including lots of Hollywood stuff, Aussie films, etc but this was a good year for French cinema.
Employee of the Year (EOTY): Pammy and I have a lovely tradition that now extends back several years. We work from home together and are set up as our own little two-person company. So each year we have a 'Staff Christmas Dinner' just like the big companies do, and each year one of us wins Employee of the Year. There's always a buzz of excitement around the place as the big day (and the lovely dinner) approaches. We're off to our favourite Japanese restaurant next week, and the envelope is sealed until then, unfortunately folks. You'll just have to share the tension with us, until then (but sources close to the company say that rumours are flying about that Pammy is a hot favourite to win it for an unprecedented third year running).
And so that's it for 2010 from me. I'm taking a break from work, from blogging (but not from gardening, watching movies, eating out and cooking) until some time in the New Year.
So thanks to everyone who has visited my blog, left comments and participated in the fun. Here's hoping you all have a wonderful Christmas, a memorable New Year celebration, and I'll be back some time in January to update you on the good life here in beautiful, sunny Marrickville.