Un Petit Peu Francais – A Little Bit French

Bonjour!

In our house, we do birthday parties, every birthday until the children turn ten, then it is a friend or maybe two for dinner/dvd. My little mademoiselle decided in order to celebrate her 10th, she needed to celebrate in style with a french themed dinner party. Being the obliging Maman that I am, it didn’t feel too far fetched to achieve.

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I own a raclette machine, a what I hear you say?  Raclette is a traditional french meal revolving around melting Raclette cheese and pouring it over potatoes, saucisson (salami), ham, cornichons, pickled onions and bread. It’s a delicious, fun and interactive meal, which requires all participants to over see the melting/cooking of their cheese.  While we can buy Raclette cheese here in New Zealand, it is relatively pricey and is a little pungent for younger palettes.  Edam has a very similar fat content and makes a suitable replacement as it melts beautifully. Raclette is one of those meals that gives maximum effect for minimum effort and can easily be tailored to a variety of fussy eaters. Always fun for kids because they can get involved.

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Knowing I can do macarons and eclairs sans beaucoup d’effort, for dessert, mademoiselle ordered up petit fours. My oven can be a little dodgy at times (hanging out for my new kitchen and appliances).  Thankfully the oven behaved on the day of the baking of macarons and eclairs, however it did not when it came to cooking le gateau. Merci, Moore Wilsons for saving the day on the gateau front.  I managed to brush the bought gateau off as being quintessentially francais, as after all that is what most french mamans would do!

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Thanks to Oncle Sam who lives in France, we were able to include some real french sweets in little bags to send home with the wonderful friends who came to celebrate.  Mademoiselle is now in double digits and this means no more big parties until her brother turns a rather significant number.

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Macaron Recipe

 

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A couple of weeks ago, I wanted to make some macarons and it had been so long since I made them, I thought I would refer back to this blog to remind myself of all my learnings and use my adjusted recipe.  I, then, realised how incredibly hidden the recipe I use is on my blog.  Time to rectify that.

My preferred recipe, comes from the amazing Australian Women’s Weekly baking compendium Bake. I know not très authentique, but hey it works…I’ve tweaked it a little, because that’s me!

3 egg whites

2 tablespoons of caster sugar

2 tablespoons of freeze-dried fruit powder of your flavour preference (In NZ “Fresh-As” brand is fabulous)

200g icing sugar

120g almond meal

 

Prepare your oven trays, grease & line with baking papers

Gently dry almond meal at a low temperature in the oven.

Beat egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form, add caster sugar and fruit powder, beat until sugar is dissolved.

Blend almond meal and icing sugar in food processor, until well mixed.

Combine sifted almond meal and icing sugar with egg white mixture, gently folding until just combined.

Pipe into desired size rounds 3-4cm onto prepared trays. drop trays a couple of times from a small height.

Leave to rest a good 20mins to an hour or longer if need be.

Heat oven to 150C

Bake for 15mins approx in centre of oven

Leave to cool

Sandwich together with ganache or butter cream icing flavoured as you wish

 

 

All my hints, tricks and tips for making macarons can be found over on my macarons secrets page.

 

 

 

Are Macarons Passé?

According to The Dominion Post – Your Weekend Magazine and many of their fairfax cohorts – macarons, salted caramel and mason jar glasses are all so common that they are no longer cool.

If you haven’t read the article, you can check out the article here.

Personally, I have to say I love macarons and the last one I had was from McDonalds, I  had to try them.  Although the colours were fantastic,   and it looked perfectly formed, I didn’t really find it had much flavour.

Salted Caramel is one of my favourites, if it is on the menu I will always go for it!  I recently made the fabulous beetroot salted caramel chocolate cake the features in the Little and Friday celebrations book.  It was divine, short on time and lacking multiple cake tins of the same size, I cooked the cake as one and cut it in half. It’s very rich, but oh so yum.

I’ve never been a fan of faux anything…trying too hard just isn’t cool!

Sourdough definitely has a time and a place, I personally love it plain with a smear of butter or dipped in good quality olive oil with balsamic or duhka – but are they passé too?

What trends need to die?  What is the new food trend? What needs to be brought back?

I love your comments and interactions with my readers, please leave your thoughts below.

My Oven Light….

Yay! We have finally managed to remove the lightbulb in my oven that seemed stuck fast for sooooo long!  I now need to go and buy the replacement bulb, because the one I had already bought is the wrong size.  So excited, I will be able to watch my Macarons cooking very soon and not have to leave the final colour to chance.

On a totally different note, I have been out for three more walks since my getting tough on myself post. So I feel I have a lot to celebrate/be thankful for tonight.

More Macarons coming soon……..