When the words “let’s take a break” are uttered in a relationship there is usually a sense of impending doom…that it will all be over.
But sometimes a break is a good thing.
A break provides perspective and can help you get back to what it is that you really love. For me the break, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, involved taking a break from blogging.
I’ve been blogging since 2007, practically forever in the blogging world, and over recent months I lost what it was that I loved about the time I spend here, on Delicieux. It can be hard when you’re a blogger not to get caught up in all the things you’re told you must do when you run a blog. Hard not to get caught up in keeping up with the latest trends, not to feel overwhelmed keeping up with posting on social media, keeping up with commenting on other blogs, putting up posts you think you should be writing instead of the posts you really want to write, and ashamedly, it’s also hard not to feel jealous at the success of others.
My inner critic became harsh, and I became even more self conscious than I normally am, and kept thinking nothing I did was good enough to post, so when I had a number of other things going on in my personal life, and found it difficult to find the time to blog, I decided it was time to take a break.
With that break came the perspective I was seeking. I remembered why I began blogging in the first place, which was simply to share my love of food and cooking, and to share my cooking journey. I’m not the worlds best cook, nor will I ever be, and during my break I came to realise that’s just fine. I’m not the best baker, the best food photographer, best food writer or best when it comes to inventing new, exciting and amazing recipes, but I am passionate about food. Passionate about learning about and enjoying food, and if I can share that with just one person then I’m happy.
So without the pressure of having to cook and photograph my cooking endeavours I felt free to cook what I wanted to cook, rather than what I though might make an interesting blog post. Out came old favourite recipes, a lot of bread was baked, and I began making homemade pasta again, which I have to say I’m a little obsessed with at the moment. It may not be groundbreaking stuff, but it made my heart happy, because food was again the focus. Not my blog traffic statistics, subscriber numbers or the number of pinterest pins or tweets I received. It was then that I knew I’d regained perspective and was ready to return and focus on what I love.
Now I’m back with a new perspective and a new look. Delicieux, was long overdue for a makeover, and I hope you like it. If you’ve been visiting in my absence you will have already seen the new look, which I’ve been working on for the last few weeks. It’s fresher, lighter and hopefully feels less cluttered. The colours are girly, feminine, just like me. I like to think of the pops of colour from the pink and red accents like the pop you get when you wear red lipstick.
The biggest change is to the front page, which lists thumbnail images of my latest posts along with the most popular sweet treats and vegetarian recipes. It’s photo-centric, the way I wanted it to be, because, after all, we eat with our eyes. The recipe index is the same, for the moment, but I am working on improving that and hope to share a new and improved index with you soon.
Now, onto these Chocolate Banoffee Puddings, and I can’t think of any better way to celebrate a return than with an utterly divine combination of chocolate, caramel and bananas.
We begin with a layer of dulce de leche. This sticky and sweet base is then topped with bananas lightly fried in butter. You could add a little brown sugar when frying the bananas if you really want to, but I felt with the sweetness of the dulce de leche aadding yet more sugar was unnecessary. But if you prefer a sweeter pudding go for it.
This is then topped with a creamy chocolate, slightly bitter pudding that isn’t half as sinful as it looks. The chocolate pudding somewhat reminds me of a béchamel in that it has a milk base thickened with flour over a low heat. Once thickened roughly chopped 70% cocoa chocolate is whisked in to make the most divine chocolate pudding. The bitterness of the chocolate works so well with the sweet bananas and sticky caramel.
If you want to skip the dulce de leche and bananas, the pudding is brilliant served with fresh strawberries and cream, or caramelised orange segments, however you may require a touch more sugar if you intend to stick with the 70% cocoa chocolate.
What more could you want other than a spoon to eat one right now?
- 1 tin sweetened condensed milk
- pinch of sea salt
- 3 large just ripe bananas, sliced
- 2 tbs butter
- 1 heaped tbs of plain flour
- 30g brown sugar
- 500mls milk
- 100g 70% cocoa chocolate, finely chopped
- To make the dulce de leche preheat the oven to 220 celsius (425 Fahrenheit) and pour the condensed milk into a casserole dish and sprinkle with sea salt and stir to combine. Covering with a tight fitting lid or foil and place the casserole dish inside a large roasting pan and fill with water so that the water level is ½ the height of the casserole dish. Bake for 90 minutes until golden. Set aside to cool completely. If your dulce de leche appears lumpy after it comes out of the oven don’t panic. Use an immersion (stick blender) to blend until smooth and glossy.
- Heat a large frying pan over a medium low heat and add the butter. Once the butter has melted add the banana slices (you may have to cook the bananas in a couple of batches) and fry until softened. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
- Take 6 small glasses and divide the dulce de leche between them. Top with the banana slices and set aside.
- In a small saucepan add the flour and sugar and whisk in a small amount of milk and combine until a smooth paste forms. Add the remaining milk and whisk and place over a medium low heat. Whisk until the mixture thickens. This can take some time, you don't need to whisk all the while, but do keep an eye on the mixture and whisk now and again to prevent lumps forming.
- Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Leave the chocolate to melt for a minute before whisking into the mixture. Divide the chocolate mixture between the glasses and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve topped with a dollop of cream and grated chocolate.