Macaron Digital Kitchen Scales Giveaway!

If you don’t have them already, digital kitchen scales are an essential item for home cooks and bakers.
Do you love baking cakes or have a precise approach to cooking? Then weighing your ingredients accurately will help you produce consistently successful results each time. In fact, don’t even start making recipes that require precise measurements (such as macarons and patisserie) without them!

digital kitchen scales for making macaronsWhat’s more, digital scales are also great at economising on washing up, as you can weigh each of your ingredients directly in the bowl or saucepan you’re using.

Grams or Ounces = Same Language

As baking in France and in the UK (and rest of Europe) is measured in metric GRAMS (millilitres and kilos), the recipes here on the blog and in both my books are also given in grams.

However, if you’re used to baking with imperial OUNCES (fluid ounces and pounds), it’s so easy to change weight measurements with digital kitchen scales by a simple tap on the UNIT button.

Why Do I Need a Digital Kitchen Scale?

digital kitchen scales TerraillonWe’re told in France that baking or making patisserie is a science. Let’s not get all technical, but yes, it’s a chemistry and if you miss anything from 20g to 50g of flour or sugar in the oven, it can be a disaster (believe me, I’ve been there!). Making macarons or pastries require EXACT quantities to the nearest gram (or 1/8 ounce), so you’ll need digital scales to weigh your ingredients precisely.

CUPS are not an accurate enough measurement to enable us to bake or cook CONSISTENTLY well.  For example: one cup of plain (all-purpose) flour isn’t the same weight as whole wheat flour or gluten-free flour, for example  – and a cup of almond flour (ground almonds) isn’t the same weight as a cup of plain flour either.

Likewise, you can’t just throw in 4 egg whites and hope for the best that it’s 150g if a macaron recipe asks for it. It may just work, but next time you try it could go wrong since 4 egg whites could be anything between 120g and 160g. Although some recipes (such as muffins, pancakes and bread) can be forgiving, measurements have to be precise by WEIGHT – not volume – in order for recipes to work successfully each time.

I could go on – but do you get the picture?

So imagine my joy to discover these stylish MACARON digital kitchen scales by Terraillon.  But were they up to it, being so lightweight?

“Macaron” Digital Kitchen Scales

Ever since these shiny raspberry-coloured scales arrived a few weeks ago, I’ve been constantly testing them – and they have passed with flying (and glossy) colours!

To choose the best digital kitchen scales, I find that Terraillon’s Macaron Scale ticks all the right criteria boxes and more:

Digital macaron scales Terraillon

  • The LCD display is easy to read and buttons are large;
  • It measures in BOTH metric and imperial weights, so if I’m following a recipe in ounces or in grams, I can switch back and forth at the touch of a button.  That way we’re speaking the same international kitchen language;
  • It’s ACCURATE to the nearest gram or 1/8 ounce – and measures liquids too;
  • It’s full 5kg (11lb) CAPACITY is a lovely feature. Some of Terraillon’s macaron scales go up to 3kg (9lb) capacity, which is still more than enough for making pastries at home. My last scale would go into overdrive if I placed a heavy glass bowl on it but this one is much more bowl friendly as a result;
  • It has a TARE function, which means being able to reset it to zero so you can add and weigh more ingredients in the same bowl. Just switch back to zero to weigh the next ingredient. This economises on washing up;
  • It doesn’t mention on the guide, but weight is indicated for a whole TWO MINUTES.  This is a feature I love compared with my last (and expensive!) scale, since often I’ll be measuring out icing (powdered) sugar and I run out towards the end.  By the time I get another packet, the scale used to switch off.  This scale doesn’t thus saves me the hassle of re-weighing;
  • Although they rely on batteries, the macaron scale uses only TWO standard AAA batteries – my previous one used a whopping four and yet this one lasts so much longer.  It also warns you when you need to change batteries too, although it still hasn’t run out after 2 months of constant use;
  • Its sleek DESIGN is slimline, it’s super lightweight, easily transportable with an integrated handle, and the surface area is wide enough to accommodate standard bowls and pans. Although I chose raspberry, it comes in 12 more delicious glossy colours from shiny liquorice, plum, bright grenadine, mojito, frosted silver, to white meringue, for example, so would look stylish in any kitchen colour theme. It’s also so easy to clean at just a wipe of a cloth.

 


macaron kitchen digital scales

Digital Macaron Scale UK Giveaway

This Macaron Digital Kitchen Scale could be yours!
The lovely people at Terraillon are giving away a Macaron Scale (value of £20) to TWO lucky UK readers.

TO ENTER, it’s easy:

1. FOLLOW me on Instagram (or Facebook). If you are already, then you can choose to sign up to receive monthly newsletters, or email alerts (choose from daily, weekly, monthly);

2. LEAVE A COMMENT below saying why you need these digital scales, and what colour you’d prefer (choose from the Macaron Digital Kitchen Scale range here).

GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED.  Congratulations to both Bea Trundle and Joy Murphy, whose names were picked at random and have won a set of Terraillon Macaron Digital Kitchen scales each.


Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post and was given a Macaron Digital Kitchen Scale by Terraillon for the purpose of a review. I am not required to be positive and, as always, all opinions are my own.

Mastering the Art of Eating Cheese Fondue by Ann Mah

Have you ever read a book about travel, food and gastronomic history then been so curiously hungry to try it out for yourself that you’ve booked tickets the next day?

That happened last November. Some of you may recall I packed my bags and jumped on the train to Lyon for a gastronomic weekend after reading Chapter Four of Ann Mah’s book, Mastering the Art of French Eating Then the other day, as Ann and I were exchanging the latest Parisian bathroom leak stories and French insurance companies, she let drop that her book has just been released in paperback.

To celebrate its release, Ann has given us a few ‘Fondue’s and don’ts’, an extra bonus taken from her chapter on Savoie and Haute-Savoie where she learns from the locals about mastering the art of eating the most delicious of cheese fondues.  Like all ten chapters in her book, while she tours deliciously around France,  a recipe is given at the end.

Are you sitting comfortably? Have you brought out the fondue set?  Cheese (she’ll help you choose that too) all cut up and ready? Then let’s start the lesson:

How to eat Cheese Fondue like the French

Fondue Etiquette

I’ve always thought of fondue as a casual dish, a winter warmer enjoyed with a round of backgammon. But when I set out to research the classic Alpine dish, I discovered an intricate web of politesse surrounding the pot of molten cheese. Fondue hails from Switzerland and/or France, and—like most things Swiss and/or French—it involves a host of rules. Here are some of the fondues and don’ts I’ve discovered:

* Don’t stir counterclockwise: Traditionalists say you must stir clockwise or in a figure-eight pattern to keep the cheese homogenised until you reach the very bottom.

* Do twirl your fork: Keep things tidy by twirling those flyaway strands of melted cheese around your cube of bread. Please, no tapping, scraping, or double-dipping, unless you want to give your Swiss host a heart attack.

* Don’t drink any water: Sip only white wine, kirsch, or an herbal tisane with your fondue meal. According to Swiss lore, any other drink—be it water, juice, or beer—will cause the melted cheese to coagulate and form a giant ball in your stomach, leaving you with debilitating indigestion. Yes, it sounds silly, but do you really want to risk it?

* Don’t lose your bread in the pot: If your cube of cheese-soaked bread goes missing in the pot of molten cheese, you’ll have to drain your glass of wine, or kiss your neighbor.

* Do make some noise: Feel free to scrape, clang, clank, and use whatever means necessary to dislodge the crust of browned cheese at the bottom of your empty fondue pot. Called “la religieuse,” the shards of crisped cheese have a toasty crunch and are considered a delicacy.

* Don’t follow cheese fondue with chocolate fondue: A meal of Switzerland’s two most famous food exports seems like an obvious progression, but the two together might send you directly into a cholesterol coma. Instead, end your meal with fresh pineapple: The fruit’s acidity is a bright counterpoint to the creamy cheese, while its enzymes help you digest more quickly.

Ann Mah is a journalist and the author of the novel, Kitchen Chinese. Ann was awarded a James Beard Foundation culinary scholarship in 2005 and her articles about food, travel, fashion, style, and the arts have appeared in The New York Times, Condé Nast Traveler, The Huffington Post, the International Herald Tribune, Washingtonian magazine, and the South China Morning Post, among other publications. The wife of a U.S. diplomat, Mah currently splits her time between New York City and Paris.

Ann Mah Author of Mastering the Art of French Eating

Thanks to Ann for enlightening us on our French fondue etiquette.  My personal favourites are “Don’t drink water” (this always riles my Mother-in-Law up silly as she doesn’t drink wine and always talks at the table about her digestive system – I must tell her to drink a herbal tea, though!) and the “Make noise…”.  I don’t think we’ve ever had a fondue – or cheesy gratin for that matter – when my family doesn’t fight over who gets the delicious toasted scrapings at the end!

cover of paperback book of Ann Mah's Mastering the Art of French Eating

I’m thrilled to say that the lovely people at Penguin have kindly offered a Giveaway copy to readers of le blog!

To enter the #Giveaway, just comment below telling us about your favourite cheese fondue stories – or just tell us if there’s a fondue set in the family – and, even better, share news of the Giveaway via Facebook or Twitter.  The Giveaway ends Sunday 9th November 2014, midnight in Paris.

Giveaway now closed.

Congratulations to Tonessa West Crowe who wins a copy of Ann Mah’s paperback!

 Good luck! 

Mad About Macarons Book #Giveaway

I promised to let you know about the GIVEAWAY from The Good Life France.  Well it’s now live on Facebook, thanks to Waverley Books.

To enter, comment on this macaron post on The Good Life’s Facebook page and share with as many of your sweet (and savoury – remember there are spicy sweet/salty macarons too ;-)) friends.

The Giveaway ends this Saturday 6 September, so share the macaron love.  Don’t forget to sign up for the Newsletter on their website to find out the lucky entries from The Good Life.

GOOD LUCK !

Visiting The Good Life France

I am enjoying the good life in France, you could say.  Over twenty years in Paris and it just gets better: good food, good wine…. plus macarons! 

greedy stack of colourful Parisian macarons

This week, I’m also enjoying good company at the online travel magazine, The Good Life France who have featured a short interview plus other treats.  Join us for a cuppa and macaron chat in my favourite Parisian tearoom…

pistachio green tea and wasabi macaron recipe Mad About Macarons Jill Colonna

pistachio, green tea and wasabi macarons

It doesn’t just stop there: the piece also includes a review of the book, Mad About Macarons!

And for those of you who don’t yet have the book, The Good Life France includes a book excerpt featuring the recipe for Sticky Toffee Pudding macarons.

So, without further ado, let me click you over to The Good Life France for a dose of everything you want to know about France and more… I also hear they’re doing a Giveaway of the book shortly, so find out by signing up to their newsletter.

Macaron Parchment Paper – MacShapes #Giveaway

I know this may sound funny but I’ve never used a stencil to help me pipe out macarons. Even as a total wobbly beginner, when I started out making them 10 years ago, I didn’t.

Over the years, I’ve just become used to piping out macaron batter freehand. Granted, each tray’s shells are not always completely uniformed in size.  Out of 3 trays, I’ll often just get one or two strays that I love to put aside, scoosh out some extra filling on top and enjoy as a taster before putting them all in the box to mature in the fridge for 24 hours.

piping out macarons on to MacShapes baking paper

 Then the other day, I heard about this new pre-printed macaron parchment paper guide called MacShapes.

piping out green macarons on a stencil parchment paper guide

For novice macaron bakers in particular, this parchment paper is definitely a great confidence booster, as it’s such a helpful guide to get you started.  There’s no need for tracing out stencils by hand.  They’re pre-printed with food-grade ink.  An extra luxury is the baking paper’s quality.

green macarons piped before baking

Normally I stagger my rows in order to get the most shells on the one baking sheet.  With the MacShapes paper, I wasn’t used to piping them out at speed in straight lines but it was useful with a guide.  OK, even although I aimed right in the centre, I could have added a bit more batter: it spread out as usual and didn’t quite reach the outer circle.  In the photo they look uneven but I can tell you that it was quick to pair up the couples afterwards, as all the macaron shells were uniform in size.
green macaron batter MacShapes baking paper
Oh, what lovely bottoms and feet!  As you can see by the photo below, the result got the macaron addict thumbs up.  MacShapes parchment paper is super quality.
MacShapes are available for purchase at MacShapes.com. You can also find them on Facebook and join their mailing list to get their latest news and deals.  With a parchment paper guide and a straight-forward macaron recipe from the Mad About Macarons book, there’s no excuse to make that first plunge if you’re scared to make that first move.
In the meantime, MacShapes MacShapes are running this Giveaway on Mad About Macarons!
baked macaron shells with perfect feet

The MacShapes Giveaway

The lovely people at MacShapes have kindly offered a roll each to TEN lucky winners residing in the USA or Canada.

The Giveaway ends Sunday 1 June 2014  (Midnight in Paris)

The GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.

Update, 2nd June 2014:

Congratulations to Susan, Karen, Judy, Donna, Mardi, Lake Lili, Chantal, Rieko, Camiella and Christopher – the ten Giveaway winners were selected using the Random Integer Generator on Random.com and will receive a roll of macaron parchment paper from MacShapes.  An email has been sent to them today.

pairing green macaron shells before filling

What flavour will make me fulfilled? Now that’s another question…

How to Enter

Two ways:

1. Leave a comment on this post telling me if you’re a beginner or if you have ever used stencils to guide you in macaron making – and, why not what flavour you’d love to see for this macaron?

2. Share the Giveaway from the MaM Facebook page (and/or on Twitter) and return to this page leaving a comment to let me know you did it.

 Giveaway Rules

1. Open to US and Canadian residents only.

2. Last entries accepted until Sunday 1 June (midnight in Paris; GMT +1)

2. The 10 winners will be selected at random (using www.random.org) and notified by email on Monday 2 June 2014.

Don’t forget there will be 10 lucky winners. Good luck!

 

______________

Disclaimer: MacShapes supplied me with their pre-printed macaron parchment paper to review . I was not compensated for writing this post and the opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

Giveaway of Mad About Macarons at Crumbs!

I’m excited to share this International Macaron Giveaway run by my friend, Aleena Soon, who creates the most wowzer designs from her macaron business in Malaysia, called Crumbs.

Yes, you heard me; macaron designs. While I continue to make my simple, classic, round macarons, Aleena pipes out the most stunning macaron shapes: from Hello Kitty, to KimmiDolls, the Pink Panther, to paintbrushes and even Blackberry Q10 macarons! Genius? She certainly is and I’m proud to say that Aleena’s Crumbs adventure with the French frilly footed confection kicked off with my book, Mad About Macarons!

Now that Crumbs is 2 years old, to celebrate Crumbs’ birthday & reaching more than 10,000 Likes on her Crumbs FaceBook page, Aleena is hosting her very first Giveaway over at Crumbs, and it’s open to everyone Worldwide!

Aleena is looking out for 4 lucky fans, as each one will win:

  • 1 copy of a signed Mad about Macarons!
  • 5 amigurumi hand-crochet macarons sponsored by Samm’s Amigurumi Cafe
  • 2 imported high quality macaron flash drives sponsored by Crumbs

Contest is now closed

Closing date is this Saturday 15 June 2013 (12AM +8.00 GMT)You will be notified via email if you’re one of the 4 lucky winners within 48 hours upon the end of the Giveaway.