Pie 101: Cherry Pie + Peach & Raspberry Pie


I’m pretty sure that I’ve discovered total baking zen lately: that glorious moment when you are completely and utterly in the zone, when everything comes together smoothly and calmly and, above all, you are at peace with the world. Yep, my baking happy place is pie. Fruit pie. Summer fruit pie. Cherry pie. Peach pie. Raspberry pie. Pie, pie, pie. My God, I love baking pies. If I had a pie shop I’d call it What Pies Ahead. Or maybe Pies From The Sky. Or Pie It Forward.

Something about making beautiful pate brisee (shortcrust pastry) from scratch, followed by blanching fruit, stoning fruit, sitting fruit in a mixture of sugar and cornflour is just total baking bliss for me. And then eating pie… y’know, as much as I love the eating of the pie, I think I like the making of the pie a little more. Which is both weird and good – weird because who doesn’t love eating pie?! Good because I need to stop eating pie. Stop Jackie. Stop it now.

But that’s okay because I’m going to pass my pie torch to you (tee-hee, pie torch) and you can make pie and then I can stop being so fat. Okay? Got it? Good.


On Simplifying Life: PB&J Brownies


I don’t think of myself as a particularly dramatic person and yet drama seems to follow me unnecessarily. Over the past couple of years I’ve faced more difficulties in my life than it seems any one person should have on their plate at any given time. From my health which took a sudden downward turn last summer to the stresses of being a freelance writer, it’s not been a particularly easy path to tread, certainly not helped along by a significant amount of sadness which has dragged on for over a year and a half.

In the past couple of weeks I’ve felt exhausted by it all, to the point where I’ve considered giving up on, well, everything. This blog – which has always been my escape, my refuge – has lately seemed a chore. Writing, which is for me an extremely cathartic process, has not helped me begin to unravel the tangled mess in my mind as it normally would and I’ve even started to consider a career away from food, away from the things that I love and away from my dreams. A hard thing for a person as proud as I am to admit, but at one point I hadn’t been able to afford groceries for two months and so had been living off frozen vegetables and lentils and literally lying awake until the wee hours of the morning, mentally calculating how much money I’d need to save up before I could pay off all of my debts. Needless to say, it’s been a tough start to the year.

But amongst all of the drama, all of the stresses, worries and difficulties, there have been small glimmers of hope and success, from the catering job I recently completed for 150 people, to the wonderfully supportive friends, family and particularly special person who entered my life a few months ago; and they’ve made me realise that all I really need is to drop the drama and simplify: rid my life of the things that make me unhappy and focus only on the ones that put a smile on my face. It’s so easy – I don’t know why I haven’t realised it before this point.


Dealing with Conflict: Kiwi Pavlova


Photo credit: David Mason.

We deal with conflict everywhere. Whether it’s at work, with our friends and family, or simply with a complete stranger, it just can’t be avoided, no matter how hard we try; stubbornness is a part of human nature.

I’m not a fan of conflict. I usually try to run away from it and am always the first to apologise in an argument, even if I’m not in the wrong, purely because I find the tension of disagreement deeply distressing. To be so anti-confrontational is not one of my best qualities and in these situations I usually find myself bottling everything up inside and then inexplicably bursting into tears of frustration and anger. This was my week.


When Life Gives You Bananas: Banana Bread


Though I am, on the whole, a fairly easy-going person, on occasion an event will occur that leaves my blood boiling. For about an hour I will fume quietly, my insides churning, head throbbing and stomach twisting into knots that’d baffle even the best boy scout and I’ll assume the expression of a “black cloud,” as my mother always used to say. All I can think about when these events occur is just how angry and upset I feel, and how, no matter how hard I try, I simply can’t shake it. I know it’s ridiculous, completely melodramatic and, well, childish, but dammit, that’s the way I feel and I’m entitled to it.

What can one do in such situations? Very little, usually, as when I’m in such a state I don’t want a hug, I don’t want to see or talk to anybody, all I want is to be left alone and to bake the stress away. The methodical measuring of ingredients, of following a recipe to the ‘T’ and (more importantly) the time spent away from the thing that has angered me, helps me to ease it all away. Baking is my meditation.


Oh Paula, You Crazy Beeatch: Savannah High Apple Pie


It started, as many good things do, with a Tweet.

“SERIOUSLY PAULA?! Are you kidding me?! http://bit.ly/QZY7N

Whilst recipe editing I had come across this gem, courtesy of Paula Deen: a monstrosity of a pie she was calling the Savannah High Apple Pie.

My first reaction was one of absolute disgust – a pie a foot high and looking like it could’ve been expelled from either end of your body?! No thanks. But then disgust gave way to fascination (as it’s so wont to do with me) and I knew that I simply had to make this beast. Throw in another Jackie, all the way in Seattle who, too, felt the urge to birth this creation and Thanksgiving Paula Deen style was on, because Paula? She’s one crazy beeatch.


I Heart My Friends: Tartine Trifle by Rice & Wheat


We interrupt these somewhat regular posts of late to bring you a guest post all the way from San Francisco! Introducing the wonderful Angi from Rice & Wheat!

Angi & I first met through Project Food Blog last year but we really bonded over our infamous muffcakes, a bad word “created” on Twitter and made delicious by ourselves and three other blogger buddies.

When I was in San Francisco I had the immense pleasure of hanging out with Angi, her hubs Nathan and her kitty Toro and a kinder soul, whom I have bonded with instantly, I have never met; of course I asked her to do a guest for me. Not only did she agree wholeheartedly, she sent over this incredible looking trifle! So enough from me, let’s get to Angi and her trifle or, more specifically, her version of San Francisco’s Tartine Bakery’s trifle – yum. Thanks Angi!

When Jackie asked me to do a guest post here on I Am a Feeder, it didn’t take me long to decide to make a trifle because after all, doesn’t it just seemed appropriate to make my favorite British dessert for my favorite British blogger?? But hehe, I have to admit I also had an ulterior motive in mind. You see, I’ve had my eye on the trifle recipe from the Tartine cookbook for a while and well, just needed the perfect excuse to test it out. So… thank you Jackie! But hey, Jackie and I totally had lunch at Tartine when she came to visit San Francisco, so it’s totally 100% appropriate, don’t you think?


In Sickness & In Health


So I’m back! But I’ve got to deal with a little housekeeping before we get into the food, so please excuse me whilst I discuss something that is not at all food related and a little personal: this post has good news and bad news. The good news is that hey! I’m posting again! I know, that’s hard to believe in itself! The bad news is that I may disappear again because I am not a very well bunny & I’m going to be getting myself better & running back & forth between the doctor’s surgery, hospital & various events, so let me explain (there is food at the end of it, I promise!).