Although I see my parents often and work only ten minutes from where they live, Christmas is really the only time of year when I go ‘home’ (albeit not to the home which I grew up in which was sold several years ago).
I have always been fiercely attached to my rituals and routines at Christmas.
Year after year, I insist on recreating the Christmases of my younger days. This Christmas was very much like last Christmas which was very much like the Christmas before it which was very much like the Christmas before it and so on. It is a testament really to the happiness of those Christmases when I was growing up. The idea of not having a Christmas at ‘home’ fills me with dread – like I’ll be severing the last link that I have with my childhood.
I’m very lucky to live in a flat that’s practically perfect in every way. Except it’s never really felt like my home. I have been very happy there but after six years, I still have no real emotional attachment to it. The emotional attachment has always been to my parents’ home. Somewhere in tumult of the last few years though, it’s faded and I’ve been left anchorless. I don’t feel like my parents’ home is my home any more.
London was awarded the 2012 Olympics in the summer after I left university and as I was in the throws of a messy break up. 2012 seemed unbelievably far away on that day; a distant line in the sand that I wasn’t sure I’d ever reach and couldn’t comprehend what life might look like if I did.
Now that we’re in 2013, it feels like it’s time to draw a new line in the sand. I turn thirty at the end of this year and that I’m actually very okay about that. I feel like I’m done with my twenties and I’m ready to embrace the next chapter of my life. I want to throw down my anchor somewhere and stop drifting though life.
And so, this has ended up becoming somewhat of a clichéd ‘new year, new me’ post which isn’t what I really intended. I don’t believe that anyone wakes up on the first of January and is suddenly a completely different person. But time away from the busyness of life gave me the space and time to think about what I really want. My boyfriend and I spent a lot of time in the days after Christmas having uncharacteristically serious conversations. We decided to move this year, to buy what will hopefully be our first home together, and have more tentative plans beyond that for what our lives might look like. It was a fitting note on which to end the year.
I got back to my flat early on the Thursday after Christmas, the day before my boyfriend was due to return. I hadn’t slept well the night before, my mind racing with the unanswered questions that haunt you in the early hours of the morning.
On that first morning back in my flat, tired and still all at sea, I decided that pancakes were the answer, as they so often are.
Whole wheat coconut pancakes Yield: Makes about 10 – 12 pancakes
I clearly have not yet mastered the art of making a good pancake (although it’s not for want of trying). Mine always come out a little uneven or a slightly odd colour – the taste, however, remains unaffected. These pancakes have a triple hit of coconut (quadruple if you count the flaked coconut that I scattered on top), some body from the whole wheat flour and just enough sweetness for the morning. Despite the solidness of the batter, the resulting pancakes are surprisingly light and fluffy.
115g (1 cup)whole wheat flour
30g (4 tablespoons)unsweetened desiccated coconut
1 1/2 tablespoonsgolden caster/granulated sugar
1 teaspoonbaking powder
180ml (3/4 cup)coconut milk
1 1/2 tablespooncoconut oil, melted
1/2 teaspoonvanilla extract
Butter, forthe pan
Maple syrup and flaked coconut, to serve
Lightly whisk the flour, desiccated coconut, salt, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, coconut milk, melted coconut oil and vanilla.
Using a fork, combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients and mix until you have a smooth (albeit fairly thick) batter. Leave to stand for half an hour.
Melt a knob of butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. When hot, add a spoonful of batter and cook until golden brown. Flip and cook on the other side. Repeat until all the batter has been used up.