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I’m A Champion: Versatile Blogger Award!

Last month a fellow blog friend ThingsMyBellyLikes blessed me with one of the best gifts, a Versatile Blogger Award. There’s no refuting the fact that I was shocked, surprised, and excited all in one breath! As a relatively new blogger, with less than 20 followers (although I must say that I love and appreciate my faithful followers), I didn’t ever imagine receiving an award. Naturally I assumed that life-long bloggers with hundreds of followers received such honours, but lo’ and behold I am now among this elite category! (See post, Thursday Thoughts) Call it over-excited if you wish but I truly feel like a champion, hence this awesome song:

So the rules of this award state that I should thank the person who passed it on to me; nominate other bloggers that I admire and follow, and write 7 facts about myself. Here goes…

Huuuge thanks and a *virtual cupcake* goes to ThingsMyBellyLikes the awesome blogger who bestowed this medal on my blog. If I was allowed to pass the award straight back to you I would, because I love reading your blog posts and my belly genuinely rumbles at each post! Awesome writing, keep it up!

  1. Whiskey River BBQ {I recently discovered this blog and I immediately fell in love! It’s about a couple who have recently started their own catering company in the Whiskey soaked BBQ world!}
  2. Tiny Kitchen Stories {A rustic-style blog with mouth watering home-made recipes and desserts. It’s also a handy reference point for vegan and veggie meals.}
  3. Foodimentary {Known on the blogosphere as ‘A Food Lover’s Notebook’, with this blog you’ll never miss a national food day again. A blog full of interesting food facts and daily quotations.}
  4. The W Perspective {Breath taking photography from Penang, Malaysia. This photo-blog has the ability to make me say ‘wow’ each and every time.} 
  5. Without an H {Another favourite photo-blog: self-portrait photography from South East Asia, capturing the heart and soul of each community through a lens.} 
  6. The Middlest Sister {Have you ever laughed just by looking at a picture? Well then you’re in for a treat, this blog uses felt cut-outs to re-live the childhood of five sisters, through the eyes of the middlest sister. Classic and unique.}
  7. Garden Goat Quote {Another new blog that I presently follow, which I discovered through Freshly Pressed. This Super-Mom works a full-time job, blogs, and mothers nine children! Her style of writing is LOL funny and the truths of her daily life are somewhat enlightening on the joys and trials of Motherhood.}
  8. Good Humored {This blogger uses the type of humor that I thrive on, she’s sarcastic, blunt, and has the ability to turn an ordinary story into a masterpiece.}

Okay, so now 7 Interesting Things About Me (Is it ambitious for me to call these things ‘interesting’? *shrugs* You decide.)

  1. BIG SISTER I’m the eldest of three daughters. My sisters are my besties and I love my sisters more than ice-cream, sticky toffee pudding and chocolate fudge cake! That’s a lot of love.
  2. BLACK BRITISH I was born and raised in the UK but my cultural heritage is Ghanaian. The way I dress and speak is a reflection of the UK but my morals, cultural practices, and the way I cook stem from Ghana.
  3. FAITH My parents are Pastors so I’ve grown up in Church. I’ve been a Christian for 12yrs now and never looked back. My faith is more than a religion, it’s my life.
  4. CITY LIGHTS As a lover of food, fashion and all things sweet, it’s only right that I select my top 3 favourite Cities. In no particular order: Paris, London, NYC. Need I say more? (Umm seriously if you have to question this then drop me a comment, but I will be silently judging you from the other side of my laptop!)
  5. BRAINBOX Somehow I have a degree in English Literature and a Diploma in Law. People automatically ask if I’m smart. I don’t know, am I? I have a few certificates to say I’ve passed, but does that prove anything?
  6. LEGS 11 For the International readers among you, ‘legs 11’ is a British phrase for ladies who have long legs. I’m 6ft tall and this causes people to spew out word vomit such as, how are you so tall; why are you so tall; why wear heels if you’re already tall? My answers to the above consist of, Ask God, He made me this way; my Dad is tall (6″2) so I take after him; I paid for the shoes so why are you complaining/I’m not your wife or girlfriend so why are you trying to tell me what to wear!
  7. CAKE-A-HOLIC If you’ve read my Bio you’ll know that I have a slight obsession with cake. The store-bought kind doesn’t quite measure up to the fresh, warm, home-made delicacies that emerge out of my oven. They say ‘An apple a day keeps the Dentist away’, true true. But you should also remember that ‘A cake a day keeps emotions at bay’! Seriously, a well baked cake can turn any frown upside down :) I’m an addict and thats okay.

Love & Cupcakes,

Tracey xoxo  

Afternoon tea and Scones in Costa Blanca, Espana :)

Afternoon Tea and Scones in Costa Blanca, Espana :)

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My Cake Origins

A few weeks ago my sisters and I went to visit some old friends for dinner- My Mother has always told me never to go to someone’s house empty handed, so I did what I did best and asked my friend ‘A’ what his wife (I’s) favourite cake was- lemon cupcakes with a buttercream frosting. As we all sat nibbling nachos and playing Irish snap, I naturally began talking about my blog. ‘I’ stopped me mid-sentence and asked when and how I started baking. We’ve known each other for years and she claimed to have no recollection of me being such a cake-a-holic. Reflecting on this conversation I thought this would make a brilliant blog topic: My Cake Origins.

My earliest memory of home-made cakes was when I was no more than 7yrs old. Society often paints a quaint, picturesque scene of the Mother as Susie-Homemaker, but in my household Daddy could do one thing Mum hadn’t quite mastered- baking. (Yep, my Dad is a DIY-fixing-Accountant-Preacher that can bake!)

One of Dad’s specialities was vanilla sponge cake with a twist. This cake was not your ordinary sponge: the outside was a sandy-brown colour with firm crisp corners, but when served a bright pink or green colour illuminated from the inside! (There’s nothing like a splash of food colouring to keep the kids excited eh!) And there was always the lingering mystery as to what Dad’s secret ingredient was. There was no doubt in my mind that it was a vanilla cake, but I couldn’t quite place my finger on the unidentifiable taste. Was it nutmeg, cinnamon? The mystery remains unsolved…

Another one of Dad’s specialities is Ghanaian meat pies, oooh my mouth waters at the thought of it! Meat pies are a traditional Ghanaian snack, oftens sold by street vendors (and according to my Mum, best washed down with a glass of milk). Whenever Dad gets a ‘free weekend’ he either spends it sleeping, watching sports or at the gym. Or if our household is very lucky we’re blessed with meat pies! Made completely from scratch, a flaky brown pastry is folded over a fistful of seasoned corned beef. Every bite is sacred and every crumb is savoured. Pure perfection to my tastebuds. All other words escape me. You would have to be fortunate to even nibble at this delicacy to understand my love for it.

Ghanaian meat pies

Birdseye view: Ghanaian meat pies

Then there was the summer of ’98 when my Grandparents came to visit from Ghana along with my Aunt, Uncle and cousin from NYC. My Grandma, like many Grandmas is brilliant at everything. But one of the areas she excels in the most is the kitchen. That summer the family were treated to fresh, weekly batches of Ghanaian doughnuts. (Again, nothing is ordinary when it’s a Ghanaian recipe) The doughnuts were small, round, deep-fried balls of gluttony. They were deceptive in their appearance because when consumed they actually sat like rocks at the bottom of my stomach! But my oh my, they were gluttony in the most delicious form. And not forgetting AuntyA who is a pastry chef in Manhattan NYC, surely that says it all. The summer of ’98 was not only a cupcakingly delicious time, but I grew a few inches too, sadly not in height!

The handful of baking influences in my family in my family was only the beginning of my baking habits. It was not until I moved out of the family home for University that I adopted a cake obsession. In my second and third year I lived with two fantastic bakers ‘A’ and ‘J’. When the mood struck them these girls would whip up the nuttiest choc chip and macademia cookies, madeira/chocolate cake, Cornish scones, or even a tropical flavoured sorbet. My word, this household was a cake-a-holics dream come true. If you came for dinner at our house wearing skinny jeans, you would be certain to leave wearing borrowed sweats! ‘A’ and ‘J’ were wizards in the kitchen and I longed to be just like them.

Unfortunately my baking skills did not come naturally and it took me at least a year’s practice to stop my cakes from falling, let alone looking and tasting as the recipe books described. But with a pinch of perseverance and a sprinkle of determination I learnt how to bake some pretty awesome cakes, and developed a love and passion for baking.

Home is where is the heart is, and home is where the baked goodies are too!

Love & Cupcakes,

Tracey xoxo