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Sweet ‘n’ Zesty

Happy Mother’s Day ladies! 

What a beautiful thing to celebrate the Superwomen in our lives – and what better way to do it than with a spot of tea and cake!

My Mother requested a plain Vanilla Sponge cake, but I also surprised her with a new recipe, a Classic Cherry Cake

Classic Cherry Cake

 

A loaf of sponge cake embedded with sticky Glacé cherries, with a blend of flaked almonds and a light hint of lemon. My taste buds were tantilised with the sweetness of the fruit, the wholeness of the nuts and the crumbly-softness of the cake. I can see that this could fast become my new favourite! I’ve quickly learnt that the flavours of berry-based cakes and bakes can be enhanced by the zest and juice of lemon; so if you’re a lover of the sweet ‘n’ zesty then this is a cake for you. 

 

 

‘Strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them’ ~ Anon.

 

Have a wonderful day Superwomen!

Tracey xo

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Flippin’ Frenzy!

Happy Pancake day!

It’s my third favourite day of the year, after Christmas and my birthday! Now, you must understand that the depth of love I have for pancakes is the type of love that most people have for pizza. (As you may have seen throughout my blog, pancakes are a regular part of my diet.) 

For the past couple of years I’ve promised myself that I would venture away from the traditional pancakes and attempt something a bit more adventurous. This year I’ve been willing to deny my sweet tooth its sickly pleasures and I attempted my first savoury pancake. I admit, the idea wasn’t wholly my own; on my first trip to NYC in 2008 the idea of a savoury pancake was thrust upon me when the waitress delivered my maple syrup pancakes, topped with sausages, bacon and eggs! Eggs! On my pancakes! I was mortified! It took me the entire trip to warm to the idea of mixing sweet & savoury, but once I caved in I became a slave to idea! Today’s pancake isn’t my own recipe, but adapted from a menu at one of my favourite London eateries, My Old Dutch. The recipe I adapted is also called My Old Dutch, but I’ve re-named this version, Firecracker!

Firecracker Pancakes!

Pancake dinner

My Firecracker pancake began with the classic Crêpe recipe, and stuffed with sweet peppers, onion, sweetcorn, bacon and Jerk chicken. I fried the vegetables for a few mins and added a little All Purpose Seasoning and White pepper before adding the bacon. (The chicken was pre-cooked in the oven beforehand). The Crêpes took little over 10mins to prepare and the chopping and cooking of the vegetables took around the same amount of time, the lengthiest part was cooking the chicken. When all was cooked, I tucked and wrapped that baby up like a hot Fajita and made a fresh fruit smoothie to wash it down… After two of these hearty pancakes I was only seconds away from a food coma, which is always a good sign that my gut is content. 

                       ….

I couldn’t keep my sweet tooth at bay for long enough, by law a dessert must follow the mains! A friend of mine recently introduced me to the sweet marriage of peanut butter and Nutella pancakes and my oh my did I fall in love! This is definitely in my top 10 favourite pancake combos. 

Sweet n Savoury pancakes

Who would have thought that a few basic ingredients could create something so tantalising? A basic recipe, yet with a few creative toppings and fillings, you can create a masterpiece. I hope you’ve all had a tasty Fat Tuesday / Shrove Tuesday and eaten yourselves silly!

Love & Peanut butter,

Tracey xoxo

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Sweet Like Chocolate!

Happy Monday!

I realise that not everyone appreciates Monday, seeing as it’s the day that tears us away from our beloved weekends, so I thought what better way to cheer you up than with a new blog post :)

Salted Caramel Torte

It’s about time  I ventured away from the ordinary cake life and started trying something a little more adventurous. Among the very talented bakers in my family I have an Aunt who loves to experiment with crazy ingredients! As family tradition has it, we spent part of the Christmas period dining in her home, and no one was looking forward to dessert as much as I was. We never have the option of one dessert, but at least two or three choices… My gut chose the Salted Caramel Torte. The other two dessert options don’t even deserve a mention, sorry. Hands down, the torte won over my heart from the first bite.

After almost slipping into sugar shock, I decided that I too needed to master this dessert. Warning: this dessert is not for the faint hearted. A crunchy biscuit base lays underneath a blanket of golden caramel, and smothered in a solid block of  sweet chocolate- this sinful dessert doesn’t even require a side of ice cream. Just like my favourite Red Velvet cake, this tasty treat is one of those once-in-a-while treats.

I admit it didn’t taste exactly like my Aunt’s version (I wasn’t patient enough to let the chocolate solidify before tasting, and Ii may have used a Milk chocolate instead of Plain as the recipe suggested), but for a first attempt I was pretty impressed with myself. It was a quick dessert to prepare and the only lengthy part was waiting for the chocolate to solidify in the fridge/freezer. (My recommendation, for best results prepare this dessert overnight and serve the next day) Keep an eye on the Recipe section of my blog for the how-to.

Enjoy!

Tracey xoxo

And here’s a little throwback tune for you too. This was one of my favourite songs as a kid, oh to be young again.

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Pastries in Paris

Bonsoir mon petit Croissants,

I come to you this evening with another belated blog update from my recent travels. One of the beautiful things about living in the UK is that we are just a few hours away from so many amazing European cities. You may have guessed from my greeting that the journey I am reminiscing about is France, Paris to be precise.

I took a casual day trip with two of my close girlfriends to the City of Love. We ventured out on the Metro and visited cafe’s, restaurants and Museums, including the famous Louvre where the Mona Lisa resides. We spent the evening enjoying some fine French cuisine in a restaurant near the Eiffel tower.

I always make it a priority to try street food in every country I visit, so I indulged in some freshly made churros after dinner… Close your eyes and imagine hot churros, straight from the oil, freshly rolled in a bed of sugar, and dipped into a side of chocolate-hazelnut spread. Heaven!

The day wouldn’t have been complete if we didn’t stop at an authentic Parisian bakery to pick up treats for the journey home. The sight of golden, buttery, flaky croissants smiling from behind the glass was a treat I couldn’t resist. (Quite frankly I’m grateful that there was glass between us, because if it hadn’t been for that restriction I would have gladly devoured everything in sight.) The plain croissant choice was easy, but then came the decision between almond croissants, baguettes, tarts, quiche and doughnuts- I must have let at least ten people pass in front of me before I was secure in my decision!  I eventually bought more pain au chocolat and danish pastries than I could carry. Tucking into those tantalizing delicacies on the train back to London was a beautiful end to an eventful day. And believe it or not I was even able to savour some until the next day! Pastries are one sweet treat I haven’t mastered yet, so I’ll be sure to add them to my list of bakes to conquer.

Au Revoir mon amies,

Tracey xoxo

Chocolat

Chocolat

Churros et Chocolat

Boulangerie

Patisseries

Quiche et Patisseries

Tour Eiffel

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25.

The end of February is nigh, and another birthday has passed. Another year wiser.

This month I celebrated my quarter of a century milestone, and what a celebration it was!  A weekend surrounded by friends, family and rich foods, I couldn’t have asked for anything more. The dessert-celebrations began three days before my actual birthday. An elegant dinner followed by a rich Red Velvet cake, smothered in a thick buttercream filling and decorated with royal icing and sugar paste… After three days of dancing, eating and *censored* I decided to spend my actual birthday at home, with Mama.

Red Velvet birthday cake

We started the day by making choc-chip-pancakes-with-a-twist. Okay, so really it was the regular American pancake recipe, with a teaspoon of vanilla extract, grated nutmeg and a handful of chocolate chips- but it was heavenly! Teamed with a  mug of freshly brewed Kenyan Masala tea, we were in brunch haven! Birthday gifts and pancakes, what more could I ask for?  It was like Christmas in February!

Birthday pancakes

I’m looking forward to what my 25th year will bring, hopefully it includes a heck of a lot more baking and blogging!

*Raises cupcake* To my 25th year!   

25.

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Gobble til you Wobble

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Happy Thanksgiving ya’ll!

I imagine you’ve all been salivating over your roasted turkey, silk smooth gravy; crispy, golden potatoes and mac’n’cheese (with your side of fresh vegetables I hope!) I thought what better dessert for this holiday than a warm, apple treat. There’s something beautiful about eating an apple-based dessert inside a cosy home, while the chilly Autumn season passes by…

I chose an apple-crumble-sponge-cake, otherwise known as the Apple Streusel Cake. The cake is built on a foundation of light and fluffy sponge cake. Topped with a thinly sliced layer of sweet n sour green apples, and a light n crunchy, golden crumble sprinkled on top. This dessert is the perfect end to any heavy meal; it’s not too sweet that you feel the guilt of gluttony, and you can count the apples as part of your 5-a-day! But if you’ve already crossed the line of ‘gobble til ya wobble’ then you may as well add a side of vanilla or toffee ice cream!

Apple Streusel Cake

Happy Turkey day to all my American friends and family all the way from chilly England :)

Have a beautiful day,

Tracey xoxo

 
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Fourth of July: Blueberry Pie

Blueberry PieHappy Independence day!

To all my American readers, friends and family: I hope you’ve had an amazing day of festivities, laughter and most of all food!

Seeing as today is an American holiday I thought I’d conquer my fear of pastries and give pies a try. Having avoided pastries for oh so long, I realized that I didn’t even own a rolling pin! My substitute: a glass tumbler. (Well, you gotta make do with what you have eh). 

The pastry dough only took me 10 minutes to prepare and the blueberry mixture took me just as quick. The most time consuming part was leaving the dough to rest before rolling out, and setting the pie aside for an hour before baking. Nevertheless, it was worth making patience my virtue…

Out of the oven emerged a thin, golden crust, encasing an abundance of deep, dark, sapphire-coloured blueberries. The berries were complimented by a slight hint of lemon, which gave the pie a fresh summery taste. Served with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream, this dessert is the perfect Fourth of July treat …So I think it’s safe to say that I’m going to continue practicing my pie-making skills. It’s amazing what you can achieve when you conquer your fears.

Love & Blueberry pie kisses,

Tracey xoxo

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