So this morning I woke up and checked my social feeds, to see that today is International Women’s Day. My first reaction was ‘well I wonder what that means?’ After a little research it’s clear that the focus of this day is raising awareness against bias, celebrating women’s achievement and taking action for equality. So I sat with my first cup of Sunday coffee and I started to think...
Positivity creates change...
I am a firm believer that positivity creates change, and I believe in supporting change that creates equality, by being respectful, appropriate and proportional, not ‘in your face’ and antagonistic.
So for me International Women’s Day is about positively supportive each other, celebrating success, recognising where change is needed and working hard together to achieve that.
I have been blessed with some wonderful male role models who have supported and encouraged me, sometimes providing a strong foundation of listening and advice, but also importantly shown me, sometimes with tough messages, that in life you have to crack on. As my wonderful dad would tell me ‘life isn’t fair’ and that’s true, so I worked hard, tried my best to support others and never wanted anything that I didn’t deserve.
So I’m sending a huge well done to all of those women forging ahead in their chosen path, a hand of support to anyone struggling in a difficult circumstances who may need to reach out for help, and true recognition to those men who support the incredibly important role of women in their lives.
Espresso & cinnamon pancakes
So pancake day is almost upon us, and this year it also happens to fall on my birthday!! So, a double reason to have something delicious. I thought I’d get a little ahead of the game this year and post this recipe ahead of Shrove Tuesday. This is mainly because my diary on Tuesday is looking rather like a car crash, and it wouldn’t be right to miss out on pancakes.
From a food perspective, I think in the UK we have a mixed approach for pancake day. Some of my family have already got US style pancakes down pat (celebrating the influence of our amazing American cousins!). My mum makes fabulous traditional home made pancakes, which are large and thin, more similar to a French crepe. My memories of pancakes when I was a kid was having them served with lemon juice, sugar and sultanas. Sometimes the sultanas were cooked with the batter, and the first pancake was typically the runt of the litter - thick and gloopy - I personally loved that one!
So in true tradition of The Garden Roastery, I have looked for a coffee theme - who doesn’t like a cuppa Joe with their pancake? But this year, I have gone one step further. Espresso and Cinnamon pancakes!!. Yes, I’ll admit it, the recipe was created on the hoof, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the result.
I am the kind of person who cooks by the grace of luck, hope and innovation, so I apologise in advance that I cannot give you exact quantities here. (I can hear kitchen perfectionists groaning at me at this point).
I beat the pancake ingredients until I got to pourable yoghurt consistency. As the flour and egg interact you can keep adding flour/milk to get the perfect consistency. I like to leave my batter after beating for 10 mins, you will see bubbles form. You may need to add a little more milk for the last few pancakes as the mixture will have naturally thickened.
Heat a little butter in a frying pan, don’t let it burn, wipe it around the pan with a little kitchen paper. Test the pan with a drop of the pancake batter. When is starts to slowly thicken the pan is ready. Slowly pour half a ladle of mixture into a circular shape in the pan, wait for it to start to cook before adding more pancakes. Cook slowly on medium heat, on both sides. Wait until small browned areas appear and the pancake starts to rise. You will see the colour lighten as the inside of the pancake starts to cook. At this point small bubbles will raise inside the batter. When you find that a little pressure on the pancake bounces back, remove them from the pan.
Serve on a plate and drizzle/sprinkle toppings to your heart’s delight!
Hi Coffee Lovers
Whenever I get to this time of year between Christmas and New Year, I always find myself in a reflective mindset. For me it’s a time to think back on the year past, before launching myself into the New Year with as much gusto as I can muster.
So what of 2019? The headline for me and The Garden Roastery is Wow! This was my first full year since the Roastery was established and I can’t tell you how pleased and happy I am about how things have gone. As many of you will know, I started roasting as a hobby, after training as a specialist coffee roaster a few years ago. Within a few months, the friends, to whom I was giving my surplus roasts, insisted on paying for them and so that was it, The Garden Roastery business was formed.
As I look back on 2019, I have to say that by far my top reflection is all the wonderful people who have supported my business. Along with those closest to me, my family and my wonderful friends, the customers of The Garden Roastery have made my year! I can’t tell you how blown away I have been with the amount of support that both I personally, and the Roastery, have received. From customers who I have met in person, to those who I have met online, I have been blessed with many pieces of positive feedback, support, referrals and recommendations. When you run a small business, with sales on-line, it’s so powerful and empowering to receive that support. So I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to all of you who have supported me. From those who choose the Roastery as their coffee supplier, to those who are supporting a local business, to all the social media likes and shares from further afield, as well as the biggest form of feedback by personal recommendations. I couldn’t do it without you.
As I trawled the internet, looking at the various beauty products available, something started to jump out at me....Coffee!? ....Coffee face mask....coffee body scrub.....The more I looked, the more I saw. Coffee coffee coffee. Wow, I thought, who knew?
Coffee, coffee, coffee!
I am that type of person that, once I have an interest, likes to really get into the detail of the topic..(I can feel my friends and team frantically nodding at this point :) ). So there I was, page after page of internet info about coffee in beauty products: the benefits; natural skincare ingredients that work well with coffee; how I could prepare ingredients for my own personal skincare....and then it happened ....light dawned! If I would like to be able to prepare my own personal skincare products, using natural ingredients and get them just right for me, other people would probably like to do the same. In that way, the product can be perfect for the individual’s need.
Those of you who know me will be aware that it’s not as though I have plenty of time on my hands. With a busy business career, that has periods of international travel, a long commute and running The Garden Roastery, there is plenty to do. In amongst all of that I also try to fit in family time and exercise.
However, as always this autumn, I’m in planning mode. So what’s next? Where will my passion take me? One of the things I love about having my own business is the ability to be agile and try new things. When you own the risk, the possibilities are endless! So my latest musings are on new coffees and new products but as always, without the hype.
What many of my customers don’t realise is that I have a day job. I have a busy role in a engineering company, with a fabulous team and daily positive challenges which I love, but roasting and my coffee business are truly my passion. I found a hobby later in life and now it’s taken on a life of its own. From day 1, with a £5 note in an envelope, to a growing client base, both local and further a field. I am truly humbled to have my speciality roast coffee recommended by my customers to their friends, and I regularly receive new enquiries and orders. From one off gift purchases, to over one third of my business from repeat customers, I love what I do. I get so much pleasure from chatting to customers and understanding what type of coffee they like to drink. Importantly I also get to support local people and charities which is close to my heart.
So I have to share this with you. As you know at The Garden Roastery I am all about great coffee without the hype #yourcoffeeyourway. A little while ago I was looking for a straight forward brew method for my Mum. Well, we can’t have the mother of a coffee roaster not being able to drink fabulous coffee, can we? ;)
Whilst my mum has several methods to make coffee when she has visitors, she didn’t have a way to make a good cuppa just for herself. There are clearly several options. As you will have seen in my last ‘back to basics' blog, the one person cafetière is great, but my Mum already has a larger cafetière for guests. I took a look at a single dripper/filter top for a mug. Whilst they are good, they really need a goose neck kettle to pour the water evenly, and then I found something better ..... drum roll please ..... A pour over coffee maker with its own water tank.
Having been so impressed with this innovative product I sent one to my lovely mum and thought nothing more about it, until last week when I visited. All I can say is ‘wow’. Whilst I am admittedly biased about the great coffee itself (Mum uses a little micro roastery .....) the Pour Over worked brilliantly. I was so impressed, I bought myself one just to write this blog!
Whole Spiced coffees are available in The Garden Roastery bags, tins and gifts sets.
At the roastery, I prepare the flavoured coffees separately to single origins. I use my new Wilfa Grinder, which, as with my Drogheria Eureka grinder, the Wilfa can be set for the appropriate grind size for whichever brew method you prefer.