Vegan Coconut & Cardamom Pancakes

This weekend I learned that pancakes don’t really need eggs in them at all. And after two mornings in a row cooking vegan pancakes, I’m feeling a bit smug about this delicious discovery. Also, they are “superfast” to make.

Eggs creep me the hell out. Some will have heard the story of a particularly disturbing nightmare involving hatching half-formed chickens… I have been avoiding eggs ever since. I can handle baking them, if I suspend my horror long enough to crack and beat the eggs in (it still makes me feel a bit queasy). But no fried, scrambled, poached or otherwise served eggs for me.

I digress. Coconut and cardamom are delicious as a combination in sweet baked things (and oats!) so here’s my recipe for Coconut & Cardamom spiced pancakes!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain all-purpose flour*
  • ¼ cup desiccated (or shredded) coconut
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp white sugar**
  • 1 ¼ cup room temperature water
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tbsp oil (I use canola)

Method

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and lightly whisk with a fork to distribute and eliminate lumps (if you can be bothered, sifting is good too). Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.

Measure your water, add the oil and vanilla to the water and stir with a fork, before adding liquids to the dry mixture. Stir, but just until the ingredients are combined. Batter done!

Lightly grease and heat your frying pan to a medium heat. Spoon some batter into the pan, I like to smooth mine out with the back of a spoon so they are a nice even shape.

When the edges of the pancake crisp up a little and bubbles have come through all over the pancake, wait a little longer before turning it. I found that turning too early means the pancake will stick and break, but waiting a minute or two longer seems to do the trick.

If you’re anything like me, your first pancake will be a royal failure, but that gives you something to nibble on while cooking to remaining perfect pancakes.

Serves about three.

Toppings

Everyone has their favorites. I like to split a banana in half with skin on, and then place one half at a time in the pan with the pancake currently cooking. Each banana half can stay in the pan just a bit longer than it takes to cook one pancake. They caramelise deliciously and the skin helps to keep the banana from breaking up. I use maple syrup or honey to go with banana as a topping.

Another fave is berry coulis – or at least a bastardisation of berry coulis, with no wine. I chuck some frozen raspberries and blueberries (1 ½ cups all together) in a small pot with about half a cup of pure orange juice. Maybe a tbsp or two of white sugar. Then boil, stir, turn the heat down and let the liquid simmer off. It thickens and gets a bit of a jam like consistency (serves 3).

You can’t go past a squeeze of fresh lemon and a light dusting of white sugar. Or a pile of fresh fruit chopped and drizzled with honey or maple syrup.

Lucky I’ve just finished eating or I’d be making myself hungry right about now.

* You could try a flour substitute if you’re gluten free. Perhaps some ground almonds and rice or cornflour? If you use ground almonds, reduce the oil in the batter as ground almonds are quite oily.

** Or other equivalent sweetener. If you choose to use honey or agave or stevia (liquid sweeteners), mix them with the wet ingredients rather than the dry. Heat honey to make it liquid and easier to mix.

Edit: add a tsp of cinnamon to the dry ingredients. even better!

In defence of email signatures

My contacts are at best, disorganised. An automatic email signature, in plain text, which lists direct dial and alternate phone numbers, alongside the position and company of the sender is my first port of call when my contacts list fails me.

Perhaps a little more information than that. I disagree with an email signature which regularly causes printing to span two pages, is attached to every message sent, and which contains images. Sometimes in corporate land these atrocities cannot be avoided.

Mobile specific signatures? I have one for both work and personal:

“Please excuse my brevity and typo’s, this message was sent via mobile.”

Some recipients think I write that after every email sent from my phone. Some don’t understand what “brevity” means. I like to think it excuses my email for being inarticulate and clumsy, by explaining it wasn’t written in ideal conditions.

Attach your automated email signature to the first message in a thread of email, not to replies, and preface it with your personal sign off of the message.

With respect,

Anthea

Pinterest for.. Business?

That time has come, Pinterest is now “popular” enough that all the “social media gurus” are formulating Pinterest strategies.

As with every social network, there are some businesses for whom a presence will be a seamless and logical fit. For others, it’s tit’s on a bull, as my kiwi-bloke dad might say.

Pinterest is very lifestyle focused, and is useful for aggregating boards of content relevant to particular topics. Personally, I use it to capture inspiration for things I want to do myself – DIY projects, fashion inspiration etc.

You’ll find a lot of twee girly stuff, a lot of macarons, home ideas and craft projects. Depending who you follow, it can seem to be one massive Frankie-magazine-girlfest.

Air New Zealand have climbed aboard the bandwagon and reined in over 200 followers in the past week since launch. But does their “strategy” offer any value? Is the content even that interesting? I guess we’ll see.

How might Pinterest actually be useful “for business”? Well, I can imagine the referring traffic for content shared on Pinterest would be pretty healthy, but you will need legitimately good content to share in order to do well. Great for those with an Etsy store or fashion, craft, or beauty blog.

If you’re on the fence, I’d suggest:

  • Create a personal account and try it out before trying to apply it to your business.
  • Create a business or brand account and start sharing your content
  • Make it as easy as possible for your readers or users to share your content on Pinterest. Yes, that’s a “pin this” button to add to your collection of like, tweet, plus, share, bookmark.
  • Make sure you have good quality images with your content on your site – Pinterest is all visual and most pinners will like or repin without even clicking through to the originating source.

There’s an “Ultimate Pinterest Marketing Guide” available from Hubspot, it’s worth a read if only to know what’s being said “out there” about marketing on Pinterest.