Tag Archives: food

Macarons!

Macaron 1

Macaron 1

You think they are called Macaroons not Macarons? Let me tell you the distinction:-

Macaron  –  egg whites and ground almonds, as these are.

Macaroon – egg whites and coconut, as in Jane Austen’s day.

For further info try Macarons versus Macaroons.

Having got that distinction out of the way, people still call them Macaroons in England, and here in Cape Town, but now I am not going to be inundated with comments on how wrong I am!

So I baked these the other day. Yummy! For the quick and easy recipe I followed, try Easy Macaron Recipe.

You start by whisking the egg whites then adding castor sugar a little at a time till it forms stiff peaks. I don’t have an electric whisk, so did this by hand. (Plus side, burn calories to make space to eat the end result!) At this point, you are supposed to be able to turn the bowl upside down and the whisked eggs stay put.

Obviously I wasn’t going to try this over my own head, so called on the services of a willing helper – my dog Little Monkey.

Macarons 2 - and LM

Macarons 2 – and LM

If you wonder why the photo is blurred; the moment LM saw the food she was eager to clean the bowl for me and leapt in the air towards the upturned bowl! I managed to click and move the bowl out of the way just in time!

Don’t worry; I don’t tease my dogs, and she got a little treat in lieu of the contents of the bowl.

I then added the ground almonds and icing sugar and placed dollops on a tray.

Macarons 3

Macarons 3

After baking, the un-coloured ones looked like this –

Macrons 4

Macrons 4

They are supposed to be nicely risen, smooth and with little feet (whatever that means!)

So what went wrong with mine?

Meh, you know I really don’t care, because I LOVE sugar!

But if you really want to know, then here –

  • The recipe said to sieve the ground almonds and discard any lumps. Well, I duly sieved my ground almonds. I looked in the bowl and I looked in the sieve. Less than half the ground almonds had gone through the sieve, even with judicious squashing with my knuckles and then the back of a spoon! I looked at the 50g of ground almonds refusing to budge and thought, “What the Heck! You are way too expensive to discard!” So I tipped the sieve over and added the unsieved ground almonds too!!
  • I don’t have any piping bags and thought about making one out if a Ziploc bag, but since my mixture was basically solid (see above – unsieved ground almonds!) I easily spooned the mixture onto the tray.
  • I don’t have a silicon sheet, or baking paper, so stuck my macarons onto aluminium foil.
  • It said to either use a silicon template, or trace circles of the correct size onto your baking sheet (See above – not got!). I really don’t care. Once baked I matched up similar sized macarons to each other. As far as I am concerned, they don’t all have to be identical. Where is their individuality?
  • I forgot to add the colour! So since I’d already done one tray, I just added a bit of blue food colouring (the only colour I had) to the remaining mixture. This made it very runny, so my blue macrons were twice the size of my ecru ones!
  • It said to leave them for 20 to 60 minutes (depending which recipe you read), so they could get that shine on the top. I read afterwards, that you were supposed to leave them at room temperature. But I had stuck my trays in the fridge, because my dog Little Monkey has been eating food off the kitchen counter lately the moment my back is turned and I didn’t want these going the way of my muffins!
  • They were so sweet, which is saying something for me (a sugar-addict) that I did not bother to sandwich them together with filling – aka more sugar!

So there you have it.

My Macarons were (Yep, past tense; all eaten!) crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside and delicious. Just goes to show – you do not need fancy equipment or gadgets.

 

 

Snow White’s Apple?

 

Snow White's Apple 1

Snow White’s Apple 1

This naturally occurring phenomenon made me think this is what the poisoned apple might have looked like, that the Wicked Queen gave to Snow White!

Snow White's Apple 2

Snow White’s Apple 2

Here it is with its more boring ‘litter mates’.

Snow White's Apple and Friends 3

Snow White’s Apple and Friends 3

I’ve no idea what caused such a strong delineation of colours.

And as yet, I have not been brave enough to eat it!

 

Treacle Toffee

Treacle Toffee 1

Treacle Toffee 1

Look what I found on the local supermarket shelves! No, you don’t understand! I haven’t seen black treacle for decades!

Of course I bought it! Next time I go it will have vanished!

Now I realise that Bonfire Night is November 5th, but the expiry date on the tin was September. So I thought, Oh, Go on! Just make treacle toffee!

So I did!

Treacle Toffee 2

Treacle Toffee 2

Stage one. Put all ingredients (enough sugar to last a lifetime) in pan and boil.

Treacle Toffee 3

Treacle Toffee 3

Pour into tray to cool.

Treacle Toffee 4

Treacle Toffee 4

Cut up or break up and consume in 2 days.

Of course it lasts much longer. It just tastes so yummy, you can’t help yourself!

 

MY MUM’S RECIPE

1/4 lb butter or margarine

1/4 b treacle

1/4 lb syrup

1/2 lb Demerara sugar

METHOD

Heat butter in saucepan and when partly melted add treacle, syrup and sugar. Mix together well and boil for 8 to 10 minutes. (The longer it is boiled the more brittle it becomes.)

Test by dropping a little into a cup of cold water. If it immediatley hardens it is ready. Pour the toffee onto a greased tray and leave to set.

Easiest way to break up; simply bash it when it has hardened!

Enjoy!

 

 

Golden Nuggets

Golden Nuggets 1

Golden Nuggets 1

What do you make of this?

Do you think you can eat it?

Golden Nuggets 2

Golden Nuggets 2

Actually, you can!

It is a nut pie, rather like a pecan pie, but made with cashews. And for some reason they had been painted gold! (The pastry base looks dark because it was chocolatey.)

I assume it was edible – because I ate it . . . All!

This was my treat last week, when my daughter DD took me out for afternoon tea.

 

Yummy!

Bounty

Bounty

It is surprising what you miss when you live in another country to the one in which you grew up.

For me it is:

– the open green fields and dry stone walls of the North of England;

– the sandy-coloured stone work of the buildings;

– being outside all day without sun cream or long sleeves – and not burning;

– hearing that accent again, and being called “luv”;

– so much choice in the shops!

And a few unobtainable foods, such as those in the photo, that my daughter kindly brought me recently. All eaten by now (except for one Fry’s choc cream).

Well, I had to – there was an expiry date!

You can Bank on it!

Bank on it!

Bank on it!

I had some banking to do this morning, which I had been putting off, because, let’s face it – who really wants to spend any time at all in the bank?

Things have changed a lot at our banks lately. There used to be the double-door closed system, where you waited for the green light, all the while hoping you were not stuck in there for eternity. Now, there is no security at all, as you wander in through revolving doors, or worse, a large open space. The bank may think this makes it all pally pally, but what I see is an open invitation to bank robbers wielding AK-47’s to come right on in and spray me full of holes!

The first thing that greets you is the Information Desk; only now it is the Hello Desk. This is weird. South African’s rarely actually say “hello”. What they usually say is “Hi.” No – not like that! Start as if you are going to say Haa, then make it into Haaiii and you’ll approximate the SA accent!

I laugh because you are saying it out loud and your workmates wonder if you have finally lost it!

So, I join the queue for Enquiries; only it isn’t called that any more. Now it is the Service Bar! Oooh, methinks, things are looking up. At this point the guy in front of me turns round in boredom to see how many people are behind him, and I tell him my thought. But before I do, I suss up his general disposition; since it is a well known fact that most people leave their sense of humour at the door when they enter a bank. He looks OK, so I say to him, “I’ve just noticed it says Service Bar over there.” Point in direction. As he sees it I add, “I think I’ll have a vodka!”

He laughs (I judged right) but then we are left in that awkward situation of having shared a bit of a laugh, and now being stuck in the queue for who knows how long, without much else to talk about.

Fortunately, his turn comes soon, and mine soon after. All business transacted, I decide I need a reward; I have survived the bank!! So I treat myself to a latte and cookie at the local Seattle coffee shop.

Reward

Reward

And if you have to ask why there is a large bite out of the cookie, I can only assume you are a man!

 

Don’t Change the World!

As a Taurean, I resist change, even though I understand it is inevitable. But why I have to ask, is it often change just for the sake of it and not always for the better?

Take my favourite coffee shops for example. Three have shut down recently. Two have already been replaced, one with a generic cafe, and the other with another pretentious offering.

Being hypoglycaemic, apart from carrying a protein bar in my bag, I always know how far I am, at any given moment, from sustenance. So it was a bit of a blow the other week, to find this last coffee shop closed. I had to find somewhere else to eat pronto.

Last week, however, I found a new enterprise up and running. I’ll give most things a go; once anyway. So I sat down and looked at the menu. As I suspected. You couldn’t get a simple ‘chicken mayo on white’; it had to have rocket and caramelised onions, and fancy bread. Event the french toast I used to order was now on sweet bread. And of course the prices had risen.

The decor was simple with white tables and chairs, even if the legs were fancy; wooden and slanting out at an angle. On the table instead of simple salt and pepper shakers, they had Atlantic Sea Salt, and Extra Bold Peppercorns. So many adjectives are over-used these days. As if sea salt is better than plain salt, and Atlantic sea salt is better than any other sea salt! As for the pepper corns, why are they so bold? Do they address you without an introduction? Do they call you by your first name when you barely know them?

Well, I ordered a toasted cheese and tomato sandwich on white bread. This wasn’t on the menu, but often if you ask, restaurants will oblige. When it arrived the cheese was hardly melted at all and the bread was really hard toast. No, I mean really hard. It was the crunchiest toast I have ever eaten. Also, they had put pepper on the cheese – oh sorry! Extra bold peppercorns! So it was a bit too ‘hot’ for me. Still, it was plain food and quite edible.

The tea was as good as usual, but the cup was now square, with a circular inner, and really heavy! And it cost me R8 more than the other week, for the same tea – albeit in a different cup!

Still, I’ll eat there again, when my timing is off and I need food; for two reasons. Firstly, the new owners had employed all of the old staff; and secondly, it is still better than the other options, which are full of lots of people talking really loudly. (No-one cares what you are saying, least of all, I suspect, the person sitting with you!)

And what about my coffee coaster sayings? There was no coaster!