Guest Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Bread

Paris this week has been blessed with an incredible Indian Summer. It’s hard to believe it’s Autumn but hey, let’s not complain! We’re supposed to hit 30°C today so the weekend is beckoning us to eat outside. We’re finally getting that August weather we never had.

Today you are all in for a treat.  I am thrilled to have the gorgeous, glowingly healthy, Kelly Hunt join us from Eat Yourself Skinny.

Why is she so healthy looking?  I’m sure her tempting eat-yourself-skinny recipes may just have something to do with it. En plus, although she has a love-hate relationship with running, she still manages to conquer the odd marathon. My favourite part, though, is that she not only adores her food but enjoys her wines, too. How lucky to have so many fabulous wineries in Virginia on her doorstep!

Ladies and gentlemen, macaronivores, let me hand you over to Kelly – she is about to share something particularly fabulous with us to welcome Autumn.

Kelly Hunt

 

Hello there lovely readers of Mad About Macarons!  I’m Kelly from Eat Yourself Skinny and I’m so excited to be sharing with you all today!  When Jill first asked me to guest post, I was beyond flattered and completely honored!  I mean c’mon guys, you read her posts every day…her pictures are gorgeous, her writing is witty and let’s face it, she has her own book!!  What in the world could I put together that would even be comparable to the lovely goodies she makes each day and keep you from clicking that little “x” at the top of your screen!
{Yikes}
Well I decided to go with something Fall and festive!  I give you my Pumpkin Spice Bread and boy was this delicious!  As most of you know, there seems to be a serious shortage on canned pumpkin this year (read my rant here) so attempting to find this necessity was quite the task, to say the least.  If you do come across some friends, {trust me} STOCK UP!!
pumpkin spiced loaf recipe

Anyway, I absolutely loved the combination of flavors in this bread.  You have cinnamon, pumpkin, nutmeg, allspice, ground cloves…ahem, need I go on??  This really turned out incredible, was perfectly moist and tasted sensationally sweet!

Have I sold you yet??

Well if not, the best part is this only takes about 10 minutes to whip up and is extremely easy! Enjoy a slice for breakfast in the morning or wrap up as great gifts for your family and friends.  I brought this particular loaf to my office to share with my co-workers and I’m happy to say there was none left!!  Feel free to add nuts or dried fruit to your mix for a great variation.

Did I mention I absolutely LOVE this time of year??  It doesn’t get much better than scarves, spiced lattes and the sweet aroma of delicious pumpkin bread!  Hope you all enjoy this as much as I did!

Pumpkin Spice Bread

 

 

spicy pumpkin bread recipe

 

Here are your ingredients:
Recipe adapted from Bella So Savvy

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. allspice
1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 eggs
1/3 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease a 9x5x3 loaf pan and set aside.

Mix sugar, baking soda, spices and flour together in a large bowl.  Add remaining ingredients, blending well.  Pour mixture into prepared loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes and then invert onto cooling rack until completely cooled.  Enjoy!

pumpkin bread recipe

 

Thanks again Jill for inviting me to your fabulous blog to guest post!

Feel free to stop by my little bloggy anytime for more delicious recipes or even just to say hi!

XOXO

Merci beaucoup, Kelly. I’m heading out to grab that pumpkin (we’ll just have to make our own purée since the French haven’t thought of this one!) and make this as soon as I can. Your colleagues are so lucky to have you around to taste this beauty, Kelly. Don’t forget to check out Eat Yourself Skinny for many more recipes and say bonjour from me!  Enjoy your weekend.

Update: Apologies to all those who wanted to leave a comment and couldn’t.

We’ve had some crazy server problems so things have gone willy wonky.

Thanks so much for your patience!

 

French Mushroom Truffle Macarons

There has been a definite change in the air over the past 10 days around Paris.  The first sign of autumnal golden leaves are appearing. Slowly but surely.

first sign of Autumn trees

The sun has been shining but jings, the wind has had more of a mistral effect from the French South than anything else. When that strikes, a 20°C sunny day can feel like you’re in the north of Scotland. And I know what that feels like.

Mornings are becoming chilly; it’s time to put on that coat and admire the colourful scarves making their first fashionable autumnal appearances on the sidewalk. I’m not so sure it’s that fashionable: they’re covering up the first signs of a sore throat. The French always wear scarves to accompany throat infections. It’s vraiment cute.

wild mushrooms in the garden - not for eating

first mushroom in the garden – but not for eating!

When Jamie and Deeba posted the MacTweets Mac Attack #23 Challenge for September, it was something that brought back the warm to the cockles.  After 4 months of summer dilly-dallying, it was high time I joined in some seasonal fun.  The challenge was to celebrate the change of seasons through our passion de macarons.

giant tiramisu macarons with marsala figs

 

This past couple of weeks, we’ve been enjoying the brief period of French figs with a quick and easy fig tart (this recipe is now in my 2nd book, Teatime in Paris!) and roasted marsala figs with giant coffee macarons and tiramisu cream.

Equinox last week seemed to have an affect on my baking habits this time, however…

… Which axis were my macarons headed for MacTweets?

French mushroom truffle macarons

French Mushroom Truffle Macarons

Pumpkins are gradually appearing but they are not quite there yet.  Right now the French markets are proudly displaying mountains of marvellous mushrooms in all shapes and sizes, to herald the start of Autumn.  Cèpes, trompettes, pieds de mouton, girolles, champignons de Paris and chestnut mushrooms are displayed in all their glory.

We even discovered more (this time edible) mushrooms dans le jardin.

French Mushroom Truffle Macarons

French Mushroom Truffle Macarons

 

Let’s take that one again…

from another angle…

French Mushroom Truffle Macarons

A macaron mushroom!

You guessed right.  Well, I am officially Mad about Macarons, n’est-ce pas?  You are looking at cepes, chestnut mushroom and truffle macarons, inspired by the earth and its axis at this time of year en France.

I followed the same principle as the other savoury mad macs in my Mad About Macarons book regarding ratio of liquid and cornflour in the filling. I fried some chestnut and cepes mushrooms until they sweated off all their liquid and infused them into the cream, finally blitzing the whole lot and adding a dash of good quality truffle oil.  The chocolate dusting on the shells is 100% Belgian chocolate without any sugar. Don’t forget to dust the shells after airing, just before they go in the oven.

French Mushroom Truffle Macarons

French Mushroom Truffle Macarons

Et voilà.  I also added just a touch of cayenne in there to give it a kick. We all love macarons with feet but why not give a bit of a kick to them, too? 😉

They are great on their own served as an apéritif with hazelnuts and with a chilled white wine from the Jura, for example.  I tried this – especially as it’s the Foire aux Vins just now so need to taste if wines are any good or not before buying more – and they got the thumbs up.

Alternatively, serve them along with this Cremini Mushroom Cappuccino Recipe? That certainly gets the conversation going at the dinner table.  In any case, you’ll find yourself on another axis when sharing this with friends.

mini mad mac mushroom

Life is too short to stuff a mushroom – make a mini mad mac

Thanks again to Jamie and Deeba of MacTweets for providing us macaronivores with yet another month of macaron inspiration!

Enjoy the new season!

Roasted Figs in Marsala with Giant Tiramisu Macarons

They can say what they like.

I do give a fig.

Fig. Season. Is. Far. Too. Short.

For some reason, I can only find the smallish sweet, purple “mission” variety at the local market.  If I want green ones, I have to steal them from the neighbour’s tree that trespasses on to the street. But bien sûr, I would never do that.  The other neighbours always get there before me!

I’m flinging figs in so many savoury dishes just now.  Following the touch of orange blossom in my Fig Tart Recipe (in my new book, Teatime in Paris), here’s another of my favourite quick fig desserts. It’s so gorgeously simple, it’s not even a recipe. The sauce ends up syrupy thick out of the oven, as long as you don’t put too much Marsala in there and add that knob of butter. Go on, spoil yourself.

roasted figs in marsala

Now bring us some figgy pudding!

Did you know they have a high source of calcium as well as fibre?

If you’re serving these figs on their own, I recommend adding a touch of lavender since it’s in abundance in the garden just now. I had completely forgotten to cut them as they were flowering and so they have dried up but boy, their fragrance is like walking into a crowd-wrestling tourist shop in Provence, with mechanical crick-crick-crickets, herbes de Provence and lavender bags lining the walls.

Otherwise simply drizzle with Marsala and honey. They’re a real treat when accompanying Giant Coffee Macarons with Tiramisu Cream (see page 116 of Mad About Macarons).

giant tiramisu macarons with marsala figs

Roasted Figs in Marsala

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Chilling Time: 30 minutes

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Halve some plump purple figs, place them cut-side up in a roasting tin.
  2. Drizzle with a few tbsps of sweet Marsala (or sweet sherry), some runny honey and a knob of butter.
  3. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes.

Leave to cool before serving.

 This can also be a more original partner with the cheese course before dessert (in France, dessert comes after the cheeseboard, unlike in the UK.)  Enjoy with a good roquefort or gorgonzola. In fact, just make it the cheese and dessert course in one. That way it keeps all guests happy!

 

If you didn’t pig out on the cheese course, then you could go that double whammy of ice cream and top with crushed amaretti if you have no macarons left – which was the case here one evening.

No macarons left? What a shocker!

With no macarons left – even in my freezer bank – it has been time to remedy this fast, especially as Jamie and Deeba have posted an interesting seasonal MacTweet macaron challenge. Don’t forget to pop in on Monday when I have a very different plate of macarons to share with you. Remember you can sign up for free to receive le blog directly to your email account so you never miss a post. Bon weekend!

Guest Post over at EatLiveTravelWrite

Calling all tea experts.  Or perhaps not.  You may hold your hands up in absolute horror to hear two passionate foodies indulge in pastries and actually forget to infuse the Ceylon Earl Grey for exactly 4 minutes, according to the precise instructions by the Parisian server.

But we’ve got over it now. Time to move on.

Today I’m thrilled to be a guest over in Canada chez Mardi’s blog, EatLiveTravelWrite.

The kettle is boiled, tea at the ready and
I’m baking a French Fig Tart.

Head on over for the recipe and we’ll save you a slice.

Crispy Papaya Nests, Prawns, and Skinny Sweet Potato Fries

I’m not into fried foods. It’s like an unspoken rule to avoid them at home since we try to eat healthily, s’il vous plaît. But who needs rules when you have a dish presented before you like this one?  When it came to Chef Ton’s Crispy Papaya Salad on holiday in Thailand, we took a different view on fried foods.  Things changed back home in our kitchen and the deep frier was no longer a hidden appliance in the corner.

thai fried prawns

Staying at Bain Sairee on Koh Samui island, we were surrounded by such lush vegetation. These papayas were picked when still green – not left to ripen into the sweet, orangey flesh as we know it.

papaya trees

As you can see, the papaya’s flesh was still white.  The other ingredients Ton used were so simple: a couple of tomatoes, limes, some unsalted cashew nuts, giant prawns, tamarind sauce and some tempura flour.

The papaya was shredded finely and tossed lightly in the tempura flour.  At the local Tesco Lotus supermarket up the road, tempura flour was so easy to find – ready prepared. No water was added, just a light dusting was all it took.

Then the papaya strands were deep fried for just a few minutes – keeping a eye on them until they reached a beautiful golden colour – then drained on kitchen paper.

The prawns were then given exactly the same treatment.

prawns in tempura batter

Chef Ton’s smile, as you can see, was contagious.

Thailand chefs

Then to finish up while the prawns were draining, Ton prepared the quickest, tangy sauce to serve alongside it.  Pounding the tomato in a mortar, he squeezed in the juice of the limes and added the tamarind sauce.

thai tomato sauce

This was so quick to prepare and definitely something I wanted to try as soon as we returned home – so here I got to it!

Papaya, however, was the problem to find here.  Instead, I substituted it with sweet potato.  I tried them Ton’s way, coating in the tempura flour – then another time without it.  They worked out great even on their own, as the sweet potato was drier.

My prawns were nothing like the same size as Ton’s Thai versions.  Mine were so small that to compensate, I threw in some onion rings and coated them in the tempura flour to add that extra taste..

And for the sauce, mortar-fied I couldn’t find the right tamarind sauce in a hurry, I added some fresh coriander (cilantro), some fish sauce, a good pinch of sugar, and some finely chopped spring onions.

Makes a change from French fries

Delicious! Now we’re hooked on these sweet potato ‘skinny fries’. They form a nest with marinaded curried chicken served with a cucumber salsa.  There’s only one thing missing….

thai red curry mad macarons

Thai red curry macarons. Fab with a G&T

A curry macaron would have gone perfectly with this, Thai green or red?  The recipe is in the Mad Macs savoury chapter in Mad About Macarons …

A Thai Tuk-Tuk Adventure in Bangkok to Sapphire Macarons

Why does it happen to me?  Perhaps because “gullible smiling tourist” is pinned to my forehead.
Read on so this scam never happens to you!

It all started so well. En route via Koh Samui airport – which is more like entering Disneyland’s main boulevard – we savoured the lushness of the island’s greenery: the pineapples, papayas, and these enormous banana flowers.

A couple of hours later in Bangkok, we quickly realised that our lazy island pace needed some acceleration.  Just the thought made us crave an energising plate of noodles.  Where could we get the best Pad Thai noodles and fast?

No big deal: just take the ferry boat across the river and in 10 minutes you’re there, said the Concierge. The Chao Phraya river is awash with bobbing, bustling boats bombing up its main diluted hot chocolate-looking artery; and with its canals going through the city, you can see why it’s called the Venice of the East.

Pad Thai Noodles served in a banana leaf boat

At Mazzaro restaurant (just off New Road between the Shangri-La Hotel), we couldn’t fault they were one of the best pad thai in the city.  What a beautiful presentation, served in a banana flower boat. It was spicy but by now, the children were into the heat.

They were also into,”We don’t want the kids’ menu!” No wonder when you tasted this mango and sticky coconut rice dessert. We parted with Antoine, who had to work but us girls carried on walking around to soak in the atmosphere.

Stalls of fruits and vegetables were jam-packed at the sides of the street and on each corner you could take in the bewildering aromas of seafood, satays, pickles, pastes, and all kinds of Thai dishes being prepared on the spot for passers-by.

Durian fruit were also being prepared at many stalls. Despite its popularity it does have a particular smell. Suddenly we turned the corner and we focused on the tuk-tuks.  They were everywhere, zooming in and out of taxis and buses with their familiar tuk-tuk motor.

Was this driver sleeping or was he just recovering after smelling that durian?

First impressions can be deceiving

After crashing out ourselves, next day it was time to visit some of Bangkok’s sights.  We were ready for an adventure. Luckily the concierge warned us of the riverboat cost, otherwise we would have ended up paying three times the tarif if we didn’t buy the ticket directly on the boat.  Goody.  That one was cracked.

Temple of Dawn

Leaving the high-rise modern buildings behind us, we chugged past the famous Temple of Dawn and Chinatown, aware we shouldn’t miss our stop with all these sights so close.

Get me to the palace!

We were heading for the Grand Palace, dodging sellers touting their wares before the entrance. Then, halt!

A perfectly normal, kind-looking gentleman in a suit came up to warn us that our sleeves or my trousers weren’t long enough. Did you know that only one part of the palace was open to the public this morning since the monks were using the rest? Come back later at 2pm and in the meantime you have to see a remarkable sight.  Today is a special day in Thailand: we give rubies to our wives for good luck. The government is hosting a once-in-a-lifetime event at the actual factory and there are great bargains.  Bargain?  Don’t forget I said I was gullible.

tuk tuk in Thailand

Lucie holding on to her monkey, Coconut, for dear life

And before you could say, “My boss will take you there and wherever you want for 100 baht” we were in that tuk-tuk, knocking knees wondering what on earth had happened. Mum?

This had to be worth shortening our lives by a week, inhaling the exhaust fumes from the bus right in front of us. My youngest had a ball – we’re on a tuk-tuk!  My eldest should have done the talking at the palace, on reflection.

You can tell I was shaking for the next part – I didn’t know what was coming next …

Taken briefly around the tiny room of craftsmen at the Royal Lapidary factory, we were led in to the labyrinth of cases displaying their rubies and sapphires.  It’s surprising how the special government initiative wasn’t known. TaDa!  We were shown this beauty.

Never Thai-tired of sapphires

After feeling in long denial, I opted for a pricey little souvenir of Thailand: a miniscule version of this one. Why not?  Well you try and get out of there without buying anything.  Do you have any tricks on squirming your way out of that one?  I’d love to know your tactics.

Back in the tuk-tuk, we were on to their game.  We wanted dropped off at Siam Centre but somehow he talked about stopping for gasoline.  Aha.  A tailor’s shop.  You buy a suit and I get free gasoline.  OK.  That’s it.  Just take us to Siam square.

Suddenly the tuk-tuk accelerated.  We were in a James Bond movie with Jaws at the wheel. This thing careered down hills, over bridges, screeching past taxis, as we tried to see the sights. While he was wailing, “I didn’t get gasoline”, I was wailing at the kids to keep their fingers and arms inside as they pointed out buildings.  Look Mum!  A palace.

Jaws soon accelerated wailing, “No gasoline..!”

He literally dropped us in Siam square, the shopping mall paradise where the girls and I celebrated our new souvenir investment and tuk-tuk experience with the sweetest, synthetic ice creams.  Back at the hotel I needed something a little stronger since I couldn’t stop kicking myself.  That was it: a long island ice tea.  That can surely pack a punch.  You must be kidding.  My forehead stamp must not have rubbed off yet.  Amongst the ice was some ice tea without the punchy long island bit.

I learned my lesson: I should have been dressed like our friend here, with LONG sleeves and trousers that cover the ankles.  I need to return to Bangkok and feast on the delights of the temples.  After all, with around 450 Buddhist temples, it surely can’t be that difficult to visit one. The next time, I won’t have “easy target” stamped on me and I’ll pretend to speak Norwegian.

blueberry macarons like sapphires

Sapphire Blueberry macarons

Believe me. I shall never look at sapphires in the same light again. And next time I bite into a blueberry sapphire macaron, I’ll consider it an adventure.  Tuk-tuk!

See recipe for Crispy Papaya with Prawns.


Note: This was not a sponsored trip. It was our private family holiday but I just wanted to share this touristic experience, so you can be wiser to the situation!