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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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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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The Big Apple Crumble

Hello cake lovers,

I didn’t forget about you! I’ve spent the past three weeks in New York City on vacation, and celebrating a friend’s wedding. I had every intention of blogging whilst I was out there but I’m not ashamed to say that I got caught up in the excitement of the Big Apple…

I stayed with family whilst in the States, only to arrive and find out that my Mother had told her sister that I would cook and bake regularly! (Thanks Mother.) So during my first week I treated my family to one of my favourite desserts, an apple crumble.

There’s nothing like the sweet and sour fusion of almost-crunchy apples resting underneath a roof of buttery crumble topping, with a sprinkling of cinnamon and nutmeg. I wouldn’t do this blog-post justice without providing the recipe, bon appétit!

Over the next week I’ll be uploading a few other posts about desserts that I discovered in NYC so keep your eyes open.

Love & Big Apple Crumble,

Tracey xoxo

The Big Apple Crumble

Apple Crumble

Green Apples

½ tsp ground ginger – 1tsp

½ tsp ground cinnamon – 1 tsp

½ tsp ground nutmeg – 1tsp

3oz Caster Sugar – 6oz

8oz Plain Flour – 1pound

3oz Unsalted Butter – 6oz

2oz Brown Sugar – 4oz

Walnuts OR Chopped mixed nuts (Optional)

N.B. The measurements on the left are to make a small portion, and the measurements on the right are for a larger portion.

  1. Wash, peel and dice the apples into small squares and place into a saucepan. (I prefer to use green apples as they provide the sour kick, whilst the crumble adds the sweeter element.)
  2. Add the brown sugar, nutmeg and ginger to the apples and cook on the lowest heat for 5-7mins, stirring continuously. Remove from the heat once the apples are slightly soft.
  3. Place the flour, caster sugar, butter and cinnamon in a mixing bowl and use your hands to mix the ingredients together, whilst creating ‘crumbs’ in your fingertips.
  4. Pour the apples into a flat (Pyrex) dish (Optional: sprinkle nuts over the top of the apples), and layer the flour evenly over the apples.
  5. Place the crumble in the oven on a medium heat, no time specification. Check on the crumble every 10minutes by tapping the top of the crumble with your finger; it will have finished baking when the crumble is firm and golden brown.

Can you resist the buttery crumble...

Serve with vanilla ice-cream or custard.

Triple vision!

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Stressed Is Desserts Spelt Backwards

Crêpes served with fresh Mango and Strawberries

Crêpes a la Tracey!

Every body copes with stress in different ways. Some become introvert, extrovert, some drink, some shop, and some attempt to take on odious tasks to mask the problems. But I clean and bake. Truth be told I clean and bake regardless, but my best work is done when I am stressed or upset. (I know, I know, I’m going to make someone a very happy wife one day.)

Over a week ago, on Mother’s Day in the UK, a friend of mine passed away suddenly and even today I’m not sure if I’ve grieved properly. (Is it possible to go through the 7 stages of grief in a week? Probably not, I admit I most likely need therapy.) It may sound strange, but cleaning and baking are two stress relief methods that keep me distracted.

After scrubbing the bacholerette pad from top to bottom all week I spent the weekend baking up a storm. I attempted to make crêpes for the first time- they tasted okay but I should have fried them a little thinner, I think I had the-pancake-mentality in my head! Practice-makes-perfect so I’ll be sure to keep making them. I also baked a classic Victoria Sponge cake and Chocolate cupcakes with a candy-cream frosting. 

Chocolate Cupcakes

175g/6oz Unsalted butter

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

175g/6oz Caster Sugar

Eggs x3

115g Self-Raising flour

1.5 teaspoons baking powder

6 teaspoons Cocoa Powder

80ml Double cream

Icing Sugar/Confectioners Sugar

Milk & White Chocolate sprinkles/candies- for decorating

Makes 15-20 cupcakes.

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees/Gas Mark 3 or 4.
  2. Whisk the butter, sugar and vanilla extract together until smooth. (I usually use approx. 140g of sugar instead and the cakes taste just as sweet, but you can measure to your liking and taste.)
  3. Crack the eggs into the mixture one at a time and whisk for a few seconds, avoiding over heating the mixture.
  4. Measure the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder into a bowl and sift it over the cake mixture. Sift half of the flour mixture and use a spatula to fold and mix the batter together. Repeat this process until all the flour and cocoa is mixed in and of a smooth consistency.
  5. Line a cupcake baking tray with cupcake cases, and using two teaspoons spoon the mixture into the cases half way full.
  6. Bake for 15-18mins and use a skewer/cocktail stick to check that the cake is fully baked. Leave to cool for 10-20mins.
  7. While the cakes cool, whisk the double cream until the consistency becomes thicker and sieve some icing sugar into the mixture for a sweet kick. Leave to cool in the fridge while the remainder of the cupcakes bake.
  8. Once the cupcakes are baked and cooled, spread the cream mixture over the tops of the cakes and sprinkle with the chocolate candies, or any topping of your choice.

Serve with a fresh pot of tea :)

Victoria Sponge cake & Chocolate cupcakes

Tea & Cake is the best medicine!

A little bit of everything on my plate ;)

Stressed is Desserts Spelt Backwards :)

R.I.P Christina. The world has lost a friend, but Heaven has gained a soul.

Love & Cupcakes,

Tracey xoxo

How do you cope with stress? Drop me a comment. (Please note, I’m not a psychiatrist I’m just intrigued!)

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Leaning Tower of Pancakes!

It turns out that we had another exciting Tuesday in the month of February, last week V-Day and yesterday Shrove Tuesday aka Pancake Day. (If you ask me February is turning out to be a baker’s haven!) All day on Twitter and Facebook people were updating their status about what they were going to drown their pancakes in, what trimmings they would have, and how excited they were to leave work and re-ignite their love with that sacred frying pan.

Flip it. Fold it. Roll it.

Now correct me if I’m wrong but surely eggs, flour, sugar and butter are available to purchase all year round? There are a handful of nations that truly appreciate the beauty of a pancake: A well known delicacy from France, famously known as the Crepe is eaten often, dusted lightly with sugar and spread with a thin layer of chocolate spread. Another famous pancake is the wafer thin Chinese pancake, wrapped around a spoonful of Peking duck, a sprinkling of cucumber and spring onion, and a few droplets of Hoi Sin sauce. Both of these delicacies are regularly devoured in their respective cultures. In fact, even places such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Korea have their own sweet and savoury adaptations of the pancake. (Note to self, learn how to make at least two of these pancakes in time for next year!)

During my last two years of University pancakes were a regular ‘necessity’ in the staple diet for my housemates and I. It is certainly no exaggeration to say that we had freshly made pancakes for breakfast or as a snack at least once a week. Our pancakes were nearly always smothered in ‘Aunt Jemima’s Maple Syrup’, chocolate sauce and a side of strawberries for the healthy kick! Even in my fragile-detoxing-state I’m dreaming ahead to the end of the week when I can treat myself to a well deserved birthday-breakfast, full of treats that soothe and massage my sweet tooth.

Behold, the leaning tower of pancakes!

Despite my week of discipline I still managed to rustle up a stack of ‘leaning pancakes’ for my friends (and I’m proud to say that I didn’t eat a single one!) I delivered them to a friend’s house yesterday evening only to find even more temptation surrounding me, (B’s famous ginger and nut cookies, not pictured). Again, I resisted the urge (I think an applause can be inserted here) and happily watched my friends inhale the pancakes!

Some six years ago on my first visit to NYC I got hooked on the American style pancakes, and I’ve haven’t looked back since. So I guess this wouldn’t be a post worthy of uploading if I didn’t supply the recipe. Bon Appétit.

Love & Pancakes,

Tracey xoxo

 

American Style Pancakes

140g/5oz plain flour

2tbsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

2tbsp caster sugar

3tbsp butter melted

225ml/8fl oz buttermilk/semi-skimmed milk

1 large egg

Optional: sunflower oil for oiling pan

Instructions: Pour the sugar and crack the egg into a bowl and whisk together until smooth. Meanwhile, melt the butter on a low heat and add to the pancake batter once melted. Place the flour, baking powder and salt into one bowl and sieve half of it over the batter. Whisk the entire batter and gradually add the milk and remaining flour in parts. If the batter appears too runny, then sieve in a little extra flour until it is a thicker consistency.

Grease the frying pan with a small drop of sunflower oil or butter, and use a ladle to pour a small amount of batter into the centre of the frying pan. Flip over the pancake when it begins to brown, or to your liking.

Serve with crispy bacon and scrambled eggs for the All-American feel; with a side a ripe and juicy berries for a healthy twist, or you can opt for the sugar-holics menu and serve with chocolate chips and maple syrup.

The foundations of the 'leaning masterpiece'

My work is done!