18 Apr 2013

French Macarons

{who doesn't fancy a little challenge}

"Oh no" you'll say "another baking post, what is wrong with that woman". I am looking for sewing inspiration, I promise, but at the moment I find my therapy in trying out various yummy, undeniably fatty but never the less relaxing to make little sweet treats. 

French macarons have been on my To Bake list for ages. I have seen countless you tube videos and even had a dream of making them, so I knew I had to try. So when I came across a fabulous food blog called Love and Olive Oil  - check it out it has some amazing recipes and food photos, I decided to join the monthly challenge which was...you guessed it...macarons.

Two macarons attempts later I finally ended up with the most delicious Nutela filled macarons. As a complete baking geek I sat in front of the oven looking as the little meringue circles created little domes, and kept peeking through the glass door as I couldn't see any feet. No feet, no macarons. Halleluiah, 20 min later and they were ready...the sweetest, but no too sweet and chewiest, but not to chewy and absolutely delicious macarons. They were maybe a bit too big but never the less I was ecstatic. Pastry chefs all over the world go to baking classes to learn to make those famous macarons and there was me, in my tiny kitchen in Frankfurt enjoying self made macrons. OK, I did eat one or five two but they undeniably tasted better the next day.

So the verdict :
-  macarons are not hard to make. Notice, I didn't say they were easy, I just don't think they are hard to make.
- know your stuff - read a few tutorials, watch a few videos and although I personally didn't age my egg whites I do believe that there are certain little tricks to help you succeed.
- learn to make a good filling - the flavor of macarons comes from the filling. There are some great ideas on the internet and I quite liked one which used the egg yolks to make vanilla cream.
- don't be scared, you only need three ingredients so it can't be that tricky, right. And although they are famously known as macarons their other name is cookies. See it doesn't sound so scary any more, anyone can make cookies. So face your fears and if you don't succeed the first time than try again.

If you think you would like to try making your own French macarons than check out these great blog posts which will help you in your "perfect macaron quest". They certainly make for a good reading and provided me with the knowledge I needed to make those delicious little treats.

Love and Olive Oil has some great links at the bottom of the post - link here.
I used a simple recipe from Bake at 350 - link here. There you'll also find links to some great posts by the Brave Tart well worth the read if you want to know all about macarons.

Hope you are having a great week and enjoying the late arrival of Spring. Enjoy the sunshine.


P.S. I almost forgot...here is my first attempt. They were pink, yay... but too fragile.

4 Apr 2013

Oven Baked Sea Salt Courgette Crisps

{who would have thought}

After making the chocolate chip cookies three times I really needed something healthier and definitely not sweet, so when I saw these courgettes crisps on Pinterest I had to try them. They are really easy to make and here is my variation - it uses sea salt and raps oil.
The secret is to choose a nice, fresh, more on the larger side courgette.

So here is what you'll need:
Sea salt
Raps Oil

Cut the courgette into a 1mm thin slices. Place the slices on kitchen paper towel. This will remove some of the moisture from the courgette. Line a tray with baking paper and place your slices. You don't need to leave space between them as they'll shrink a bit anyway. Sprinkle over a pinch of sea salt. You can add more salt after they crisps are ready. Use a pastry brush and brush some raps oil over the courgettes. Bake at 160C for about 30-40 min.

I couldn't resist posting a couple of photos on my baby boy who is 10 months old today...where did the time go...look at these sweet cheeks...

And I also must share this photo of Easter in my girl's dolls house. Did you think the dolls don't celebrate Easter, of course they do! And can you spot the little wooden sewing machine in the background...yes the dolls have a sewing machine too!

Hope you are having a lovely week!