La Vie en Rose Macarons

Are you feeling rosy, today? I have to admit, I’m still blooming emotional: yesterday it was our turn in France to celebrate Mothers’ Day. Each year I get increasingly gushy, as my lovely girls compose their own poems for the Fête des mères.

dusky pink garden rose

This time they confirmed their knack of making me swell up with proud and happy tears, listening to their precious words – by way of a new recipe note book, starting with a gorgeous poem called “Recipe for the Cake of Love” (from the French film, “Peau d’âne”). They didn’t make a cake (perhaps that’s for next year?) but they printed out an internet cake!  We spent the day en famille with hugs that you wish could last forever. I told you I was feeling soppy…Even at the local market, all Mums were handed a rose, thanks to the Mayor.  Is that not sweet?

child's poem in French for Mother's Day

 

We finished off the day with rose and white chocolate panna cottas, with a cherry cardamom sauce – using the only cherries left from the tree in the garden (the pigeons ate the rest: nearly the blooming lot!) – plus a few rose & cardamom macarons on the side. 😉 (Apologies, the photos were rather blurred so used this earlier one; photos and Champagne don’t go well together, it seems…)

rose pannacotta and cherry cardamom coulis

 

All of this rosy feeling was triggered last week, on my favourite metro line in Paris: line 6, direction Nation.  It’s the metro where you come out of the tunnel and are suddenly surprised with daylight. After leaving the stop, Passy, the Eiffel Tower just hits you with all its grandeur.  Just at that moment, a busker started up a Piaf arrangement of La Vie en Rose on the accordian.

Now, how French-sounding could that be? Once you hear it, it’s difficult to get that tune out of your mind. Why not feel rosy and sing along with Edith Piaf..and read on. Although her songs are mainly melancholy, they’re so uplifting.

French garden roses

 

I used to pass Edith Piaf‘s Paris appartment in the 16th Arrondissement, on the way to work in the bus, every day for 10 years.  Each day I’d pinch myself thinking, “she used to walk along that very pavement in Boulevard Suchet.”

pink macaron patisserie heart shape by Eric Kayser Paris

Back up at my favourite shops in St Germain-en-Laye, I needed some inspiration for two birthday “cakes” and some pampering for Mothers’ Day (well, they needed ideas, n’est-ce pas? ;-)) I HAVE to make this giant macaron heart shape with red fruits when I have more time.

au nom de la rose Paris

 

This rose boutique ensures that a pile of rose petals are added to the bag carrying your bouquets, which is just so classy. They also sell the most enticing bitter chocolate bars with crunchy rose petals in them.  It’s a far cry from the Turkish Delight we used to get as kids and has restored my belief in chocolate and rose together.

French rose cottage

 

This scene just did it.  A house for sale just around the corner from us, along by the River Seine.  It just looked so rosy and French, heu, heu, heu. The house is just at the spot where William Turner set up his easle and  painted the view of the Château over the bridge to Saint Germain-en-Laye.

Turner painting of the Seine

 

All along the banks there are other paintings by the Impressionist painters. It’s unbelievable to think they were walking along the Seine just like you and me.  More on that later but back to my roses. As my good friend, Felicity, adores rose macarons, I couldn’t resist making her a wee macaron tower. Hm.  It was a bit tricky to transport it in the car!

rose macaron tower arial view

 

Then, to celebrate my heroïne, Raymonde’s 90th birthday last week, the rose theme continued: this time with chocolate-rose macarons.

rose macaron birthday cake decoration

 

So, as you can see, it has been a rather rosy week!  Well, there’s nothing quite like the emotion of biting into a rose macaron. Delicately perfumed and floral pink, this is sheer gourmet luxury.

rose macaron birthday cake

 

Let the celebrations continue by serving this with a glass of pink Champagne and just let your toes curl.  I lift my glass and rose macarons to all Mums out there, all of you with birthdays, good friends and macaronivores. Cheers: you deserve it! Oh, and it’s not just females who love rose macarons, I’ve discovered. 😉

say it with rose macarons Recipe in Mad About Macarons

Egg Yolk Recipe Series

I have been so glad to welcome my friend, Biren from Roti n Rice, this week.  She has shared her fabulous recipe for Mango Egg Tarts, as part of the egg yolk recipe series.  She adds a beautiful twist to egg tarts with her exotic touch but also with a deliciously crunchy base.  The recipes are building up now for your egg yolks, so there are no excuses to discard them!  To see all the other recipes, click on the Egg Yolk Recipes categories of the website.

Le Blog Awards

I am also feeling rosy since I have been lucky enough to receive some more blog awards from my fellow blogger friends.  A huge thank you both to CitraKale and Suzy Eats for the Stylish Blogger Award…


…and then I couldn’t believe I received a bunch of awards from Elyse of The Cultural Dish and also from Manu of Manu’s Menu. It’s so flattering to be given all of them from such lovely friends and such super bloggers.

Thank you all ever so much!  Now I just need to find a way to add these awards as widgets on the site – i.e. making it pretty on the sidebar and setting up a page for it… I’m needing some time to catch up!

I have been so bowled over by everyone’s adorable comments on Le Blog and on Bonus Recipes each week.  I adore hearing from you.  Although I don’t respond to them all directly on this website, I do try my best to show how much I appreciate your words by dropping in to say hello on all of your blogs.  I just wish I could spend more time doing this, as it’s such a lovely atmosphere in the blogging world, n’est-ce pas?

Apologies – this is a longer post today.  I didn’t have time to do a shorter one!  I’m going to take a wee break, folks, as this is a crazy time of year for end of term school activities, shows, piano exams, house guests, etc. Even multi-tasking is taxing. And just as I write this, I’ve put my back out!  Oh-là-là. Too many rosy celebrations, perhaps? Will be back later! 🙂

Bonne semaine en rose !

Guest Recipe: Mango Egg Tarts

Do you ever get all soppy sentimental over certain foods?  It may sound silly, but mine is simply with egg tarts.  When I initially came to live in Paris, it was sometimes overwhelming trying to cope with the language.  Everyone spoke so fast!  As a lost Scottish chatterbox, I often felt dumbstruck following tongue-twisting euuh-ahh-oooh French lessons at Alliance Française. Antoine, who had the sweet tooth, would buy egg tarts frequently to cheer me up.  They remain a sweet comfort whenever I’m feeling a bit numb dumb.  Yes, even 20 years on, it still happens when my children now correct my French!

Just recently, I discovered a wonderful blog, Roti n Rice. Its author, Biren, was preparing fascinating recipes that were a mix of Asian dishes but somehow seemed familiar with Western influences.  Biren was brought up in Malaysia and so was used to her family serving a mix of Chinese, Malay, and Indian cuisines.  As she grew up, Western, Japanese, and other East Asian cuisines were thrown into the mix.  Now Biren lives in Minnesota. What more can I say?  Biren mixes the two cooking cultures of Roti (meaning bread in Malay, Hindi, and other South Asian languages) with rice and noodles.

I was delighted when Biren accepted to do a guest post for us today, to add to the egg yolk recipe series.  What kind of twist would she do to an egg tart?  Well hang on, folks; wait until you see how my humble studenty egg tart has been given the new dinner party treatment.  Let me hand you over to Biren.

mango egg tart egg yolk recipe

Biren, Roti n Rice

Greetings to all you Macaronivores! I am Biren of Roti n Rice and I am much honored to be here today, contributing to Le Blog’s new series on egg yolk recipes. First of all, I would like to thank my gracious host, Jill for the invitation and to congratulate her on “Mad About Macarons”.  I have heard many good things about the book.

This new series on egg yolks is such a brilliant idea. It fills a niche in using up egg yolks, saving the whites for macarons. I have enjoyed the recipes from the other guest posts and look forward to more in the coming days.

Now, it is my turn to share a recipe with you that is reminiscent of the egg tart, a dim sum favorite. Instead of a pastry crust, I made an easy pressed graham cracker crust* filled with a mango custard. The custard is light and slightly tangy, contrasting beautifully with the crust. These tarts can be made ahead if you are having guests. Cover and leave to chill in the fridge until ready to be served. Enjoy!

(* Graham crackers may not be found outside of the US. Please substitute with Marie biscuits or Digestive biscuits. Ginger snaps would also work.)

mango egg tarts for teatime

 

Mango Egg Tarts

(makes 6 tarts)

Graham Cracker Crust

1¼ cups (140g) finely crushed Graham crackers (Marie biscuits, Digestive biscuits, or ginger snaps)
2 tbsp sugar
5 tbsp (70g) unsalted butter, melted

Mango Custard

1 cup (240ml) mango puree
¾  cup (170ml) coconut milk
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp (30gm) butter
2 tbsp rice flour

Line a standard size muffin pan with 8 foil liners.

Graham Cracker Crust

Stir together crushed graham crackers, sugar and butter until well combined. Press mixture evenly onto the bottom and sides of lined muffin pan. Bake in a 350?F (180°C) oven for 8 minutes. In the mean time, work on the custard. When crust is ready, remove and cool on a rack. Leave oven on.

Mango Custard
In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks lightly. Set aside.  Heat butter in a pan and cook flour. Pour in mango puree, coconut milk, and  sugar stirring over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in egg yolks until well combined. Pour warm filling into baked tart shells. Bake in a 350?F (180°C) oven for 12 minutes. Remove and cool on a wire rack. When it is cool enough to handle, transfer baked tarts to a flat pan. Cover with foil and chill for at least 4 hours in the fridge.
Mango egg tartlets yolk recipe
Many thanks, Biren, for sharing such a delicious yolky recipe with us.  Don’t forget to drop by Biren’s blog, “Roti n Rice” and say hello for me.  She has plenty more gorgeous sweet and savoury recipes to share.

A Ballpark Challenge with Coca-Cola Macarons

The other day I discovered another site that adores macarons: MacTweets.  It’s run by Jamie and Deeba, who are both adorable macaronivores.  What is particularly fun about their site, is that they set a macaron challenge every month.  Last month the challenge was to have something chocolate in it. Previously, it was something spicy.  I could do that!  I contacted them, excitedly. Can I join in, too? I’m not on Twitter, but is that ok?  The fun was going to start.

THEN I saw the challenge. This one?  I honestly think I stumbled on a difficult one! 😀
Here was their macaron challenge for May:

“….Put aside all of those elegant flavors, the sophistication and beauty of those little French treats and think junk food! Transform your macs into the perfect ballpark (or couch potato) snack food! Give it the old ballpark twist, salty or sweet, creamy, crispy or ice cold and here’s a Hip Hip Hooray for the old ball game….snack!”

My first reaction was to go for a buttery, caramely popcorn.  That was perfect; but I discovered quickly that others had thought of this already with beautiful popcorn adorned macarons.  I had to think of something else.  Not easy, especially as we’re too tempted to dream up elegant flavours and go the sophisticated route with macarons.  But JUNK FOOD?  I am definitely not a junk food eater but one thing I could identify with is Coca-Cola.  A chilled coke in the summer heat, watching your favourite match.  Could I turn this into a macaron?  Hm.  This was certainly mad!

I made a start, flicking – perhaps a bit too wildly in places 😉 – dark food colouring to try a visual fizz.  After making them, Antoine’s cousin had a brilliant idea: I could have used some space dust fizzy sweets to crumble on top (just discovered they’re called pops rocks dips here; even better some sucre pétillant).  Merci, Manu – that’s a must for next time for a real fizzy sensation on the tongue! So, ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, I present you with my Coca-Cola Ballpark Snack Macarons for MacTweets:

Coca-Cola macarons: Ballpark Snack Macs

The filling’s main ingredient is actually Coca-Cola. Hm.  Not an easy one for the flavour.  It needed a bit of a boost with extra flavourings.  Coca-Cola extract is not something I have in my cupboards and so instead, I added a dash of caramel flavouring to concentrate the flavour.

Incidentally – if you just want the coca-cola “look” for your macarons, you could use blueberry curd as your filling (see guest recipe post for blueberry curd from BigFatBaker) for a different flavour.

Then I had some fun and sprayed them with Wilton red food colouring.

And since I’m a bit Mad About Macarons, I couldn’t resist doing a fun shot!

Happy summer games, mes amis!

Egg Yolk Recipe Series

Check out the latest recipe as part of the new series on using up your egg yolks.  This week my guest is Kate from Diethood.com.  She’s making us a Chocolate Crunchy Trifle with Egg Yolk Buttercream Frosting.  Quick, there’s only one spoon on that plate!

Have an extra fun and fizzy week! 🙂

Guest Recipe: Chocolate Crunchy Trifle with Egg Yolk Buttercream Frosting

Nice driveway“, Kate had on her personal blog profile.  I was instantly intrigued.  What on earth? Then it all clicked.  Kate – or Katerina – hails from Macedonia and nice driveway is phonetic for Na Zdravje, which means “to your good health” in Macedonian.

It sums up Kate brilliantly.  She is herself a perfect picture of health and her mouth-watering recipes echo that via her blog, Diethood.com.  When I first got to know Kate, I realised just what a sincere person she is: I felt I’d known her for ages!  She had been looking at my book and asked me to do a guest post on her site, since she wanted to tell her friends about it.  I was – and still am – extremely flattered. We have a number of things in common: one of them is our love for a good trifle. Except the trifle I grew up with in Scotland is very different to the royal one she is sharing with us today. It’s not just creamy, it’s crrrrunchy!  So my friends, let me hand you over to the lovely Kate now…

Kate, at Diethood.com

A few months ago I asked my now dear friend, Jill, if she would do a guest post for me. When she accepted the invite, I was incredibly excited! I think I even did a cheer. Then, just a couple of months later, she invited me to guest post for her – How lucky am I? I was on cloud nine when I received that email. I thought, “Are you kidding me?! Of course I accept!”

Jill had only one requirement; egg yolks. I can do that!!  Or can I?!?

I went through lots of recipes, including my mom’s, but I kept coming back to the one that I always go to when I have a few egg yolks left – my egg yolk buttercream frosting! I got this recipe many years ago from my Aunt Sneshka when I was visiting my home back in Macedonia. She used this frosting as a filling for some cookies that were seriously the best cookies I had ever tasted. At that time she informed that this was a very popular frosting that was used in Macedonia during and after Easter because of the abundance of eggs.

If I only had the recipe for those cookies…sigh. But we’re in luck because at least I have the recipe for the frosting!  I use this frosting for cupcakes, cakes, cookies – whatever needs to be frosted or filled, this is the recipe I will use 99% of the time when I have some yolks that need to be used up.

Today I will share a dessert with you that I usually make when I need something creamy, something crunchy, and something delicious!  This is a three part recipe, and it may seem a bit overwhelming, but it’s not! Please trust me.

chocolate crunchy trifle egg yolk recipe

Chocolate Crunchy Trifle with Egg Yolk Buttercream Frosting

You will need:

For the Cake:
2 ½ cups graham crackers (or digestive biscuits), ground
1 cup walnuts, finely ground
Orange zest from 1 orange
1 orange, juiced
1 stick of butter
4 squares of Baker’s Unsweetened Baking Chocolate, melted with 1 tablespoon Vegetable Spread

For the Egg Yolk Buttercream:
1 stick of butter
1 cup of powdered sugar
4 egg yolks, poached
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Pudding Topping:
1 (5.1 ounces) package Jell-O Instant Pudding, Vanilla Flavored
1 (8 ounces) tub Whipped Topping (Cool Whip)

Directions:

First we are going to make the graham cracker/digestive crust.

In a large bowl put in all the ingredients for the cake and let your hands do the work. Or the wooden spoon. Mix well and combine. Set aside.

Poach the egg yolks by dropping the yolks, one by one, into almost boiling water; allow the yolk to cook for 1 minute. Turn off the heat, cover the pan, and let the yolk sit for another 4 minutes. Do this with the rest of the yolks. Set aside.

Into the bowl of your mixer cream together the butter and the powdered sugar; cream for 5 minutes. Add in the poached yolks, one by one, and the vanilla extract, and cream together for another 10 minutes.

Take out some aluminum foil and spread the graham crackers mixture on it. With your fingers press the graham crackers tightly together, just as you would do for a pie or a cheesecake.

Spread the frosting on top of the graham cracker crust.


At this point you can do one of two things; you can roll the cake like a log and put it in the freezer, or you can lay it flat and put it in the freezer. I usually roll it into a log because there is no room in my freezer to put it in flat. If you roll it into a log you also have the choice of cutting the cake into cookies! I do that, too, sometimes.

You can leave it in the freezer for at least 3 hours, or up to 1 day.  When ready to use, take out the cake and let it sit on the counter for about 20 minutes.

In the meantime, you can make the pudding.

In the bowl of your mixer prepare the vanilla pudding per the instructions on the package.

Add in the whipped topping and beat until well combined. Set aside.

Begin by crumbling the cake into a trifle bowl. Just break it off – don’t need to be fancy. It will be covered up with the pudding. 😉

Spread the pudding mixture over the top.

Put it in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Before serving, add chocolate shavings on top and serve with berries (optional).

Kate trifle 3

 

Before I go, I just want to thank my beautiful friend Jill for inviting me to do a guest post for her; I am truly honored! Thank you, my dear! xoxo

That looks one incredible trifle, Kate!  With 4 egg yolks in this, there are lovely egg whites left over for our macarons.  Thank you so much for sharing this.  Fabulous trifle and nice driveway! 🙂

Don’t forget to click over to Kate’s blog, Diethood, for many more delicious recipes and say cheers from me, will you?  I see she’s just made a batch of the most scrumptious strawberry cheesecake ice-cream…

Thyme to be Sage with Buttered Asparagus

This past week I was so ashamed of the garden. I had run away from it for too long. The weather didn’t give me an excuse, either, as the sun was shining. It was time to JUST DO IT! My back has been killing me since (the computer doesn’t help, either!) but the effort was worth it.  The cherry tree is now covered in netting (yeh, as if that will prevent the wood pigeons from pecking at them!) and the raspberries are well on their way.

chives mint herb garden

 

The only part of the garden that’s in full bloom is the wee herb corner. Once the major weeds disappeared, I discovered we actually had flowers: on the chives, lemon thyme, and they were popping out in their full glory on the sage plants.

sage in flower

 

Just seeing the word, sage, makes me laugh.  In French, sage means wise (if you’re referring to an adult), and good (when you’re referring to a child). I keep meaning to ask my husband how this works; I mean, at what point will it no longer be wise to shout, “Soyez sage!” as you drop the kids off at a party?

sage flowers close-up

Delicious and stunning sage flowers

I’ve never seen such gorgeous looking flowers that you can eat!  I just had to do something with them. When I did my usual weekly shop at the market, I also had to asparagus myself.  Well, that’s what they kept shouting at the market: “Aspergez-vous!”, “Aspergez-vous!”

asparagus and strawberries at the French market

Asparagus season at the French market

The French normally serve asparagus with hollandaise sauce, or toss it in butter.  With such beautiful and delicate sage flowers, I wanted an excuse to use them for friends coming to dinner. Nothing fancy. What could be easier than tossing them in butter infused with sage and decorating them with the edible flowers?

white asparagus with sage butter

White asparagus tossed in sage butter

For the sage butter, it’s not even a recipe – so not worth putting it as a recipe post on the site. It’s a no-brainer! Just take about 1/3 pack of unsalted butter, melt it over the most gentle heat you can, along with several sage leaves and a few leaves that have been chopped finely.  Stir it now and again with a wooden spoon – still on a very low heat – then discard the large leaves.  The butter is beautifully perfumed.  Toss the asparagus (peeled, trimmed & steamed in boiling water for about 5 minutes) in the butter and serve.  Et voilà!

Just so the green asparagus didn’t feel left out, I did the same again for more guests.  The sage flowers were a real talking point.  They really taste of sage and it went well with the asparagus.

Asparagus, sage butter and flowers

Asparagus, sage butter and flowers

Hm.  Last week you may have been disappointed that I didn’t make a stinging nettle macaron.  I know, how could I not join in the fun?  Well, truth be told I preferred the nettles mixed with ricotta cheese and mint in some homemade ravioli, tossed in the sage butter and served with some crispy sage leaves.

ravioli with sage butter and sage flowers

Homemade nettle ravioli, sage butter and sage flowers

I don’t want to disappoint you this time, though.  Why not take a glass of wine, sit back and enjoy it with a mini sweet garden herb macaron?  And if you have the book handy, then just turn to page 97 for the recipe. Cheers!

Sweet Garden Herb Macarons

 

Making macarons but don’t know what to do with the egg yolks? Don’t despair. Check out this week’s guest recipe post from Joshua at Just Eat! He’s making us some Biscuits Bretons to use up our egg yolks.

If you missed the others, take a look at Liz’s silky Chocolate Pots de Crème (guest from That Skinny Chick Can Bake), Erin’s Blueberry or Pineapple Curd (guest from BigFatBaker), and Manu’s Genovesi Ericine Sicilian pastries (guest from Manu’s Menu).

Stay tuned, folks, since there are more guests coming soon to share their egg yolk recipes with us.

Before you go, I just wanted to say a huge thank you for some blog awards.  I haven’t forgotten: just stuck for time to post it all – will be up on the next post!

Guest Recipe: Biscuits Bretons

When my friend, Joshua, told me he had the perfect French recipe to use up egg yolks for this series, I was overjoyed.  It’s my absolute favourite French biscuit: it’s buttery, but not too heavy or sweet.  What’s more – like macarons – they’re addictive.

If you don’t know Joshua already, you soon will.  He was the one who came up with that magnificent macaron for the Royal Wedding macaron procession.  So let’s bring on the royal trumpets to welcome Joshua to the guest recipe egg yolk series.  Ladies and Gentlemen, let me hand you over to the Monsieur himself…

Joshua, author of Just Eat!

I’m Joshua Alan, a food blogger for “Just Eat!” and aspiring pastry chef. Currently, I live and study French in Normandy, France, which I will terminate this coming June. In the United States, I am a college study and small business owner, a baking and cake decorating business, in Nashville, Tennessee. I absolutely love all things sweet! Just about everytime I walk the streets of my French city, I am trying a different pastry! It’s magical. A world without dessert is not a world that I want to live in. My blog is all about these adventures and recipes inspired by the travels of my taste buds!

This recipe is a favorite of mine and is a great way to use up all those left over egg yolks! Le biscuit breton is a specialty of Bretagne, France, located just below my current city. These cookies are rich, sweet, and buttery. What more can you ask for? The smell as they bake is entirely intoxicating, but does the taste no justice! I could seriously eat an entire batch by myself, and I have.

Recipe: Les Biscuits Bretons

Ingredients:

3 Egg Yolks
1 1/4 cup Sugar (125 g)
1 cup Butter (Room temp) (230 g)
3 cups Flour (370 g)
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tbsp Water + 1 Egg Yolk

Makes 4 Dozen Cookies

1. In a clean bowl, place 3 egg yolks, the butter, and the sugar.
2. Mix until fluffy.
3. Add in flour and salt, mix well.


4. Turn dough out onto floured surface and form into a ball. Add water, if needed.
5. Wrap dough in parchment paper or plastic wrap, than place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
6. Roll dough out to approximately 1/6″/ 4 mm thick.


7. Using a cookie cutter, preferable a fluted one, cut the dough and place on a baking sheet.
8. Mix water and egg yolk, then brush each cookie with the mixture.
9. Using a fork, drag the tips across the top of the cookies, making a criss-cross pattern.
10. Bake at 350F/180C for 10-12 minutes.

Many thanks, Joshua, for joining in the egg yolk recipe collection with my favourite French biscuits.  Don’t forget to drop by Joshua’s blog, “Just Eat!” for many more delicious French-inspired treats.  At the moment he’s travelling around Europe, so we’re looking forward to hearing all about his adventures!