I wrote a post about moving through my fears to start writing. In the post I spoke about regret and success. This led to a conversation with my father that I’ve been thinking about frequently since.
He loves the blog (he’s my dad, it’s his job to love everything I do) but suggested that my definition of success was way off base.
In fairness he absolutely didn’t say that, he was lovely and gentle and supportive in his choice of words. But what was behind those words was, “your definition of success is just plain wrong kiddo.”
One of the many things I love about my dad is his thoughtful approach to the words people use versus the sentiment behind the words. He’s always challenged me to be more specific, to choose words and beliefs carefully, to continually question preconceived notions – of which I have an embarrassing number.
So when he said that he disagreed with my post’s concept of success, and I had stopped pouting, I once again delved into the words I use and the meaning I place on them.
After some reflection, I realised that my definition of success is almost entirely based on areas I believe I’m unsuccessful. I have a great relationship with my family, a loving marriage, a wonderful child, good friends and a home I adore. But I haven’t found passion, applause and a lot of cold, hard cash in my working life – therefore, for me, the definition of success is based on this, the area I believe I haven’t succeeded, rather than all the areas I’ve found joy.
I also frequently move the goal posts around success. So, when I first started writing this blog I just wanted to engage the part of my mind that was always fettered into silence. Pretty quickly, I wanted someone to read it and tell me they liked it. Then I wanted a group of people who felt truly engaged by my words. One day soon only world domination via WordPress will suffice…
I think that part of this is healthy human interaction. I strive to be better because I can. But part of it is fuelled by the suspicion that I’m not good enough, and that’s the part that causes me pain.
I’ve spent time since then trying to focus my attention on the areas of my life that shine with the successes brought by joy.
Some people I know write a gratitude list each day. One friend keeps a pretty stone in her bag, whenever she finds it while ferreting around for something, she immediately pauses to think of something she’s grateful for in that moment.
Others set aside time to sit and observe the world moving about them, looking for the sparkly moments that permeate life, the instants we’re usually too busy to see – a smile between strangers, a moment of unasked kindness freely given, a green space lovingly tended in a city.
Something that I’ve been trying recently is finding moments in my cooking. Instead of cooking while planning the photography, new web design and dinner for my family; I’m revelling in the soft snowfall of flour, the snap of breaking chocolate, rolling each flavour in my mouth while testing and enjoying the opportunity to improve rather than panicking that it’s not going to be good enough. And I’m definitely becoming happier for it.
Now, onto world domination…
Bananas are currently in season in Australia and they are looking and tasting good. I’ve had a lonely jar of Bonne Maman’s caramel spread sitting in my fridge for a while, and suddenly had a childhood memory-based brainwave about the time one of my cousins and I made an enormous banoffee pie and sat in his living room, inhaling the soft banana caramel goodness while watching an entire afternoon of film after film. A successful afternoon if ever I’ve had one.
I’ve made quite a few of these beauties since that day and through much trial and error, this one is my clear winner.
- 225g digestive biscuits (graham crackers work as a substitute for Americans)
- 100g pecans
- 125g unsalted butter, melted
- 1 pinch salt
- 125g unsalted butter, diced
- 100g light brown sugar
- 400g Bonne Maman caramel spread (dulce de leche is a good replacement if you can’t find this, or go the old fashioned boil tinned condensed milk route if you’re feeling brave)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 75g pecans
- 1/2 tbl sp unsalted butter
- 1/2 tbl sp light brown sugar
- 4 ripe large bananas
- 275ml double cream (heavy cream for Americans)
You can either make one big Banoffee Pie in a 23cm loose-bottomed tart tin, or make four individual pies in 11cm loose-bottomed tart tins – the choice is yours!
Put the the biscuits and pecans in a freezer bag and smash them to smithereens with a rolling pin
Stir together with the melted butter and salt
Press the mixture into the tin or tins of your choice, pressing down to line the base and sides
Keep the base in the fridge while you make the filling
Melt the butter and sugar in a small saucepan over a low heat, and stir to dissolve the sugar
Add the caramel spread and salt
Stir constantly until smooth
Pour over the base, and chill for an hour
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium high heat
Add the pecans and toss to coat
Add the sugar and stir frequently until caramelised
Turn onto baking paper and allow to cool
Carefully remove the pie from the tart tin
Whip the cream into soft peaks and spread on top of the caramel
Thinly slice the bananas
Arrange the bananas and candied pecans on top of the cream
Keep in the fridge until ready to serve.