Tag Archives: recipe

Overdue for a pancake post (flapjacks, actually)

I was going to write a blog post about how I don’t like my job anymore and maybe never did, how I make laughably dumb mistakes (bringing flip-chart markers to write on a whiteboard tops the list), and how I feel like I’m going backwards on the career progression ladder by being an admin assistant (again). But that wouldn’t be very fun to read, nor would it help me feel good about how I spend 35 hours of the week, which is the ultimate goal, right?

So instead, here’s a pancake recipe. This one’s a winner (which I could have predicted as soon as I saw cocoa in the ingredient list. And because I’m feeling generous, I’ll follow it with a (British) flapjack recipe for comparison. Those were a hit at the office this week. Probably because the main ingredient is butter. To clarify: American flapjacks are thick pancakes, and British flapjacks are basically thick squishy granola bars. 

Warning: these recipes contain coconut because I just bought a lifetime supply at the Indian grocery store. You can omit if you hate it, but we can’t be friends if you do.

 

Cocoa-nut Flapjacks

Adapted from this.

  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup mineral water (the fizzy stuff)
  • 1/2 cup flour (I used this gluten-free brown bread mix that I love)
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut (un-sweetened and finely ground)
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder (use the Dutch-processed dark stuff)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat your temperamental electric hob to slightly-too-hot (medium-high for normal stovetops).

Mix dry ingredients together with a fork. Add butter, vanilla, and milk; lightly mix again. 

Add a tablespoon or so of butter to your pan and let it melt, swirling it around with a spatula. When drops of water sizzle in the skillet, lower heat to medium.

Add a little sparkling water (makes pancakes fluffy!) to thin the batter a bit; then and add scoops of batter to the pan. I can get about 3 small pancakes in my 12″ skillet. Cook for approx. 3 minutes, or until the edges look dry, then flip and cook for 2 additional minutes. Transfer to a plate and make your second batch.

Serve with a variety of toppings (John had peanut butter and honey, I had greek yogurt/black currant jam/more coconut).

 

White chocolate coconut flapjacks (the British version)

Adapted from this, and converted into NORMAL (read: American) measurements.

  • 1/2 cup butter (yes, really. Suck it up, and use a decent organic/grass-fed type like Kerrygold to help you feel better about this decision)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated (caster) sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups quick oats, or porridge oats to use the adorable UK terminology
  • cinnamon, sea salt
  • 100 g bar of white chocolate
  • about 1/4 cup desiccated coconut

In a large glass bowl, melt the butter and sugar together in the microwave (about 40 seconds on high). Stir in the honey, vanilla, and oats. Microwave on high for about 3 minutes, stopping to stir after 2.

Spread mixture on the bottom of a lightly greased 8″ x 4″ glass baking dish. Top with cinnamon, a little sea salt, and sprinkle with coconut. Press mixture down firmly with the back of a spoon.

Break the chocolate into pieces and melt in the microwave, stopping to stir every few seconds. When the pieces are almost all melted, it’s likely to be ready (you don’t want burnt chocolate). Stir some more. Spread chocolate on top of oat mixture and cover the dish. Let cool, then move to refrigerator for overnight firming up. When ready to cut/serve, it helps to let the dish come back to room temp. Slice into whatever sizes you’d like, and enjoy.

 

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For lack of a better title: My new job

It’s officially my second week at [insert name of big university publishing company here]. Friends and family have asked me the usual questions – what do I do? Do I like it? And which part exactly of publishing do I touch?

I think I’m drawn to jobs that sound straightforward on paper, but are actually kind of complicated to explain. And yet I’ve come full circle, and find myself in a role much like the one I landed straight out of college – Admin. Assistant. It’s pretty different (in scope) compared to the first time I found myself in this type of job – much more document management and many more meetings to arrange around insanely-busy schedules, but the groundwork feels familiar and I really enjoy it. My (extreme) attention to detail is both a blessing and a curse, as I submerse myself in the why, how, and did-I-dot-all-my-i’s of my daily workload.

I’m happy to be part of an organization devoted to literature, research, and education, so I feel inspired to be a better admin. assistant this time around. And there’s much to learn; for instance, I’ve never worked on a PMO (programme management office, in this case) and feel challenged to wrap my head around MS Project workbooks and change management processes. As to the question of “which part” of publishing I do, I suppose the easy answer is people. Divisional infrastructure, risk management, and other business-y terms might be a better description, but the core of it is: look at how departments are currently doing things (hierarchy, IT and process support, etc.) and help them do things differently. Well, help my boss help those departments do things differently.

So, I get a high-level view of how things work here, and that’s pretty cool.

Other perks: cheap cappuccinos, a gym in the basement (did a ViPR class today, which was fun) and an in-house library. Not to mention a slightly shorter commute (by 5 minutes, I’m slow on my bike) and walking distance from John’s office. He likes the cappuccinos, too (and burger-bar Fridays).

This past weekend, I got together with my former co-workers, and hope to keep that going as my previous job increasingly becomes a distant memory. The people were (are) great, and Oxford is small, so I feel I can actually maintain those connections. What I won’t miss is the ride up Rose Hill (and possibly a few things I liked to grumble about on regular occasion to anyone who’d listen).

I should wrap this up because I have a deep conditioning treatment* dripping down my face and into my eyes (ouch), but as a last note on this subject, I feel like this is the most “career”-ish job I’ve had. Maybe it’s just a result of getting older, but it could also have something to do with aligning my love of literature and knowledge with how I pay my bills. It’s a nice feeling.

*Homemade science experiment: mix equal parts warmed coconut oil (one of the few oils that penetrates the hair cortex, rather than just coating it) with a moisturizing conditioner (conditions, duh) and add a small blob of raw honey (an effective humectant/emollient) and massage into your hair. Secure with clips/bobby pins. Leave in for a few hours (or until you get sick of it dripping down your face) and wash hair as normal. Shiny!

Brunch for One

Brunch for One

Some people thrive on independence, solitary space, me-time, being alone—and then there are those who collapse into mild panic at the notion. I think it goes a little beyond introversion and extraversion; our comfort with having time to ourselves depends on our current mood, outlook, and level of motivation.

There are times where I need company—to drag myself out of a funk, or get out of my own head, or just to reaffirm that I’m a real person and have both feet on the ground. As funny as that sounds, I’m kind of a daydreamer, and tend to get lost if I don’t have someone anchoring me to reality.

My anchor is in Utah right now for a Physics conference, oddly enough at the same ski lodge where my dad worked once. Luckily, today is one of those days where I like being alone. I was wide awake when he left at 8 am, but then I turned on a geeky podcast (on how nutrition affects our skin, hair, teeth) and fell right back to sleep. Too bad, because I could’ve learned something.

Anyway, I woke up hours later, after a series of bad dreams involving a fictitious heroine hiding from her murderous husband who started killing the whole family (don’t worry, she joined in on the killing eventually and was the only one standing at the end). The dreams confirm that I definitely have a cold, if my runny nose and mannish voice weren’t strong enough indications. Bizarre dreams are the ultimate diagnosis.

I decided I should get out of bed, since it was 1:30 in the afternoon, although Zora didn’t like that idea. Yep, she cuddles with me under the blanket—my little purring spoon. It’s sickeningly cute.

I couldn’t decide if I wanted savory or sweet, pancakes or eggs, so I came up with something seriously blog-worthy. I might have to make this all week. It’s basically crepe batter, the way my Oma taught me how to make it, but poured into one thick, flappable pancake-omelet hybrid. Whatever you call it, it’s delicious.

Give me a title, someone.

2 large eggs

2 Tablespoons flour (I used Sainsbury’s gluten-free mix)

Splash of whole milk (maybe ¼ cup—you want the batter to be thick, but pourable)

–       Thoroughly mix the ingredients above. I just cracked my eggs into one of those blender bottle things, and shook it all up. Worked like a charm!

–       Heat large non-stick pan to medium-high. Add butter. When a drop of water is flicked onto the pan and it sizzles, it’s ready. Pour in all of the batter.

–       When the edges are dry and the crepe no longer looks liquidy on top, flip it.

–       Cook other side on medium for another minute or two, just until the eggs set.

Now the fun part- fillings! I spread on some “soft cheese” (cream cheese), sliced avocado, and cooked bacon (“back rashers,” which shrivel up more than my beloved “streaky bacon,” but which are equally tasty). Salt and pepper. I rolled it up, and topped with a little honey (the opaque, creamy kind, please). And maybe some bacon grease, if we’re being honest.

The rest of the day has gone by quickly. I got a package in the mail from my mom: a birthday card and some gorgeous earrings that I’m wearing now. I cleaned the whole house, including wiping down the messy kitchen, fridge, bathroom, surfaces, etc. Vacuumed—or should I say hoovered? They call vacuums “hoovers” here. Drank PG Tips with coconut milk. Organized all of our clothes. I really like cleaning, but I realize I’m probably putting most people to sleep.

I needed to get some fresh air (even though I can’t smell much today), so I walked into Headington and put my new Waitrose membership card to good use. It’s sort of like Whole Foods—overpriced and basically like a toy store to me. I signed up for a free membership card basically for the promised cup of coffee with each visit, and was delighted to find out that I can get coffee, a latte, or a cappuccino (I opted for the last one). I can see myself seriously abusing that privilege. Since it’s my birthday on Monday, I also stocked up on Lindt dark chocolate (one bar with blueberries, and one with sea salt).

Now I’m in Starbucks, and it’s closing soon, so I’d better pack up. The rest of the night will include marathoning season 6 of Dexter, homemade pizza, and more hot beverages. All in all, a decent me-time Saturday.