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Monthly Archives: May 2014

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For the past few weeks, I’ve been working behind the scenes with the lovely Faye Kent on an exciting new blog design – and I am happy to report that it is now up and running! I’m moving Victoria Sponge Pease Pudding over to a new address and I would love for you to come and join me. You’ll now find my foodie musings at http://victoriaspongepeasepudding.com/ and soon this blog address will redirect to the new one. I’ll also be migrating all my lovely WordPress and BlogLovin’ followers over to the new address, but to make doubly sure you receive all the latest cakes and bakes in your inbox, please enter your email address in the sign up box on the new site. There are still a few bits and bobs that need to be ironed out on the new page but overall, I am so thrilled with the new look and logo and I hope you are too! You’ll also be treated to a delicious jam recipe and another tutorial for a tiered cake over the next few days, so there are plenty of things to look forward to with the new-look Victoria Sponge Pease Pudding. Catch you on the new site!

Victoria Sponge Pease Pudding

Brown Sugar Bejewelled Pancake Stack with Strawberry Vanilla Sauce

Some may say that there is a certain element of sadness in a single stack of pancakes. Breakfast, or at least the Sunday variety, is often accompanied by endless chatter or in fact none at all – solitude shared with another as you pour over different sections of the paper. Brunch appears to be an exceptionally social meal, filled with ‘how do you like your bacon?’, ‘shall I push down the plunger on the cafetière?’ and ‘can you pass the magazine section over once you’re done please?’ So to offer up a dish that is single serve for one of the nicest meals of the weekend bar a beautiful roast, it seems a rather odd choice.

Brown Sugar Bejewelled Pancake Stack with Strawberry Vanilla Sauce

I am however finding that I enjoy stolen moments of solitude more and more these days. My weeks are punctuated with the usual calamity of a newsroom, which to those in the know, will understand is a place where one simply cannot work in silence. You tune out the noise and just press on. But in these small pockets of quietness, when all I can hear is the slow rumble of the boiler, the kettle snapping to life and the turn of the page in the latest novel I’m reading, I appreciate every morsel of silence. Even as I type this, the only sounds one can hear are some birds chirping outside my window and the squeaky tapping of the laptop keys. It’s rather nice to just enjoy the silence.

Brown Sugar Bejewelled Pancake Stack with Strawberry Vanilla Sauce

I imagine there are others out there who live alone or often cook for one, and thought a single serving of pancakes would appeal. Instead of offering the usual stack, dripping with viscous maple syrup and bacon so crisp it shatters, I thought I’d take a rather fresh approach, adding a caramelised depth to the pancakes by stirring in a touch of brown sugar and some sweet spices for added warmth. To counteract the mellowness of the dish, bright jewels of pomegranate, raspberry and blueberry litter the stack like sweet and sharp punctuation notes. But the real star I must admit is the strawberry vanilla sauce, a sort of hodge-podge quick jam that will make you long for the pick-your-own season. Strawberry and vanilla work so well together and just bring this vivid pancake stack to life with a jammy sweetness to round it off. Cosy up on the sofa, read a book and keep the kettle on rotation and enjoy those quiet moments to yourself. When this stack appears in front of you after your efforts, you will be glad there is no-one around to steal a bite.

 

 

You Will Need

100g self raising flour

½ tsp baking powder

1 tbsp soft light brown sugar

1/8 tsp cinnamon

A pinch nutmeg

1 egg

125ml semi skimmed milk

 

For the fruit salad

1/3 pomegranate, seeds removed

1 handful raspberries, halved

1 handful blueberries

 

For the Strawberry Vanilla Sauce

65g strawberries, hulled and chopped

15g caster sugar

¼ tsp vanilla paste

2 tbsp water

Mint sprigs, to serve

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar and spices then crack the egg into the dry mix. Using a hand held electric whisk, incorporate the egg then slowly add the milk bit by bit until you have a smooth batter that is dropping consistency. Set aside. Combine the fruits in a bowl and also set aside.

Brown Sugar Bejewelled Pancake Stack with Strawberry Vanilla Sauce

For the Strawberry Vanilla Sauce, place all the ingredients in a saucepan and place over a medium heat. As the sauce begins to bubble, compress with a masher to create a thick consistency and continue cooking over a medium heat until slightly jammy yet still pourable. Once finished, pour into a small ramekin. Reheat if required.

Brown Sugar Bejewelled Pancake Stack with Strawberry Vanilla Sauce

Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and add a knob of butter to grease the pan, wiping down with kitchen roll to avoid excess greasiness. Using a ladle, pour a scant ladleful into the pan and cook until bubbles appear across the pancake. Flip using a fish slice and cook for a further minute before removing to a plate. Repeat with the remaining batter until you have three to four pancakes. Stack on a plate and top with the berries. Pour over the sauce and serve with lashings of coffee.

Brown Sugar Bejewelled Pancake Stack with Strawberry Vanilla Sauce

pistachio cake

There is this silent, yet omnipresent fear within each blogger that threatens our very existence in this online world – the day blogger burnout arrives. It swoops in slowly, the recipes starting to sink like stones, the photographs blurred and flat and soon progresses to words that wont flow from your fingertips. In many ways, it mirrors that feared condition of writers block, but as a writer by trade, I have no other option but to power through that interview or the article at work because a deadline looms no matter how hard it is to get the words to appear on screen. Yet as a blogger, the responsibility is entirely your own. There is no editor tapping their foot waiting for witty and well-structured sentences to magically appear. There is no photographer patiently editing pictures for you to use at your leisure. Your subject is a bowl of butter and sugar sitting in your kitchen, unaccounted for as you struggle with the creativity to bake it into something magical. As bloggers, we take on the all-consuming task of writer, photographer, editor and social media expert. Then the piece is done and we start the process again. Those with a hardcore schedule keep at it day in day out, never seemingly losing focus and uploading beautiful and inspiring content multiple times a week. It’s no wonder that sometimes it gets too much, and you have to take a step back.

cakes

Don’t get me wrong, I love the responsibility that comes with my baking blog – I write sentences that I know I couldn’t in other articles, structure sentences the way I would a conversation and take endless photographs rather than just one beautifully crafted shot. But it is tiring and time consuming, and when your cake fails to rise for the third time in four days, it feels easy to slump on the floor and let the thing burn in the oven, convinced you are a failure and that you’ve lost your touch. It’s incredibly easy to be hard on yourself, especially when there are so many other inspiring sites and ideas out there. You feel lost in a sea of words, scrabbling to grab hold of just a few to keep you afloat, but when the sentences are jarred together for the sake of hitting publish, blogging loses its loving feeling. Recently I’ve felt the same, tempted to post nearly-there recipes with words written in snatched moments, but it feels forced and unnatural. To me, blogging is an exciting and fun way to share my love of words and cakes but when I don’t feel inspired by my own content, it’s difficult to see how any reader would feel anything but the same.

garlic mushroom pizza

Dealing with blogger burnout can seem like a risk. There is the fear that followers will dissipate, the stats will drop and the site will look tired and outdated. But there is hope in taking a break, regaining your thoughts and re-evaluating what it is you want to bring to the internet. Much like a well needed holiday, the chance to reflect rather than churn out content tirelessly will give you the space to dream up those ideas that have lingered long enough in the back of your mind. When you feel the passion once again rising in your fingertips, that feeling of incessant typing because your ideas and thoughts are too brilliant to miss capturing on the page, then it will feel like the break following the burnout was worth it.

strawberry galette

If you feel like you’re losing your grip, then you should take that step back. Go on an ideas trip – as cliché as it sounds I get my best ideas at all hours of the day, so forever carry a notebook with you and scribble down ideas as you experience life without the chains of a blogging schedule weighing you down. Be inspired by the seasons and take a trip to markets and parks to get a feel for the time of year, imagining what you would eat in that very moment that encapsulates your surroundings. Blogger burnout is not a lifelong prognosis – those ideas that fuel your desire to tell stories and take pictures will return. You just need to give yourself space to let it happen.

strawberry scones

I’ve shared a few pictures in this post from recipes that haven’t inspired me to write or been a particular success – including a pistachio cake I am determined to perfect – to show what I’ve been up to these past few weeks during my radio silence. I’ll be back properly this weekend with a delicious bejewelled pancake stack that will kickstart your weekend in style – and my return to the blogging world from my own blogger burnout.