And A Life In Between

Travel, laugh, encourage, eat

Travel, laugh, encourage, eat
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The iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris

I hope you like travelling, because then you will know why I have fallen in love with it.  And I could tell you about all our favourite places Hubby and I have discovered. 

We haven’t travelled much internationally.  Wait, that’s not true. We have just not travelled as much as I would like to (i.e. permanently!)  That being said, we’ve seen quite a few places that we’ve always dreamt about, like Paris.

If you like a little bit of humour, you will enjoy this little story about our first time there.

Hubby and I eventually got tired of the hotel’s continental breakfast (only so many chocolate croissants one can have) that we really needed something familiar for breakfast.  This specific day we were on our way to Les Invalides  and we decided to look for something in the vicinity.  We settled on a small coffee bar.  It was run by an elderly gentleman.  His English wasn’t great but we managed to agree on an order of scrambled eggs on a slice of toast (not on the menu, I have to admit, but he was very willing to make it especially for us).  We were excited!  Soon enough he was back.  “Voilà!” Hubby and I were presented with a gigantic sized omelette, filled with what seemed to be a solid block of cheddar cheese… each!  What could we do?  “Merci-beaucoup!”

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Les Invalides, Paris, where Napoleon’s tomb lies under the golden dome

If you appreciate a little encouragement every now and then, I can tell you that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.  I’m a bit of a quote person and a favourite is one from Walt Disney.  He said “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”  I certainly don’t have the answers but I will gladly share whatever it is that I have figured out for myself along the way.

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Made it all the way to the Arc de Triomphe

And if you enjoy food, I could tell you about wonderful places we’ve discovered, or I could offer you a recipe now and then.  (I’m by no means an accomplished cook, but I enjoy it enough to try it often!  Or is it that I enjoy eating so much…?!)

One of my favourite chef’s is Rick Stein and in his book “Rick Stein’s French Odyssey” he has this recipe for small, shell-shaped French sponge cakes, called madeleines.  I’ve served as a light dessert many times.  It even has mother-in-law’s stamp of approval and that says a lot, because she really is a great cook.  It is very easy and quick to make.

Madeleines

(makes 24)

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium eggs
  • 100g caster sugar
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 100g plain flour, sifted (and a little bit extra for dusting)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 100g butter, melted (and some more for greasing the moulds)
  • 1 tbsp clear honey

NB:  You do need a madeleine baking tray to give them their unique shell shape.  I actually found a silicone version and it works perfectly.

Method:

  1. Brush your madeleine moulds with the melted butter and leave for a few minutes until the butter has slightly set. Dust with flour, and tap out any excess flour. This will ensure that only a small amount of flour sticks to the butter, which helps the madeleines turn out the mould easier and it also gives them a nice golden finish.  (I do this even though I use a silicone mould.)
  2. Preheat your oven to 190°C
  3. Put the eggs and sugar into a bowl and whisk until the batter becomes thick and mousse-like (about 3 minutes with an electric whisk). Whisk in the lemon zest.
  4. Sift the plain flour and baking powder together and gently fold in, followed by the melted butter and honey. Place the batter in the fridge and leave for 15 minutes to thicken slightly.
  5. Fill each of the madeleine moulds three-quarters full with the mixture and bake for 10 minutes until puffed up and golden. Leave to cool and then remove gently from the moulds.

In this recipe, Rick Stein serves it with vanilla ice cream and vanilla poached apricots.  However, in all the time I’ve been making this I have never been able to find fresh apricots, so I always opt for tinned apricots.  Works just as well in my opinion.

When plating, put two madeleines to one side of each of a shallow dessert bowl. Spoon some of the apricots and a little syrup alongside and add a scoop or two of ice cream.

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My madeleines, with Rick Stein’s French Odyssey in the background

Lastly, I hope that you will find enjoyment in travelling, laughing, finding a bit of encouragement and eating with me!

PS:  And I hope you like photography!

Madeleines

January 7, 2016
: 24 tea cakes

By:

Ingredients
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 100g caster sugar
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 100g plain flour, sifted (and a little bit extra for dusting)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 100g butter, melted (and some more for greasing the moulds)
  • 1 tbsp clear honey
  • To serve:
  • Tin of apricots in syrup
  • Vanilla ice cream
  • NB: You do need a madeleine baking tray to give them their unique shell shape. I actually found a silicone version and it works perfectly.
Directions
  • Step 1 Brush your madeleine moulds with the melted butter and leave for a few minutes until the butter has slightly set. Dust with flour, and tap out any excess flour. This will ensure that only a small amount of flour sticks to the butter, which helps the madeleines turn out the mould easier and it also gives them a nice golden finish. (I do this even though I use a silicone mould.)
  • Step 2 Preheat your oven to 190°C
  • Step 3 Put the eggs and sugar into a bowl and whisk until the batter becomes thick and mousse-like (about 3 minutes with an electric whisk). Whisk in the lemon zest.
  • Step 4 Sift the plain flour and baking powder together and gently fold in, followed by the melted butter and honey. Place the batter in the fridge and leave for 15 minutes to thicken slightly.
  • Step 5 Fill each of the madeleine moulds three-quarters full with the mixture and bake for 10 minutes until puffed up and golden. Leave to cool and then remove gently from the moulds.
  • Step 6 In this recipe, Rick Stein serves it with vanilla ice cream and vanilla poached apricots. However, in all the time I’ve been making this I have never been able to find fresh apricots, so I always opt for tinned apricots. Works just as well in my opinion.
  • Step 7 When plating, put two madeleines to one side of each of a shallow dessert bowl. Spoon some of the apricots and a little syrup alongside and add a scoop or two of ice cream.
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