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One Night in Bangkok: Back to the 80s Disco Macarons

A few days ago, I fell in love with some dazzling upbeat music on the car radio. I had never heard it before. For a few seconds, I felt the trendiest Mum: the car speakers were put to the test and down zipped the car windows as I casually picked up my daughter from collège. Dude. As Julie approached the car she shuddered, begging for a speedy getaway.  Mum? ‘One Night in Bangkok’?  But that’s ancient!  Where was I?

Could we be Sandy and Travolta look-a-likes?

Granted, I was not a trendy teenager in the 80s; playing in orchestras and excited by Stravinsky, Brahms or Dvorak rather than discovering Murray Head from Chess in the Charts could be considered downright nerdish. Then again, when Shirley Manson‘s sister (that was cool) asked at choir practice if I’d been to see ‘Grease’, I remember the cringing confusion as I said I’d never been – which was a pity, especially since I adored moussaka.

Boom. That was it!  After my daughter’s ‘boum‘ before Christmas, it was our turn. It may have been the end of the festivities of Christmas and New Year but last weekend we discoed back to the 80s. It was time catch up with friends, put on our red shoes and dance away the January blues. One girlfriend took it literally: I’m still in awe how she managed to wear her 20cm-heeled red sparkling Bowie shoes without keeling over. Another friend simply wrapped aluminium foil around his training shoes: great idea! My favourite gear in the 80s was the all-in-one jumpsuit but as it was difficult to pin down again (just as well), I found one quickly on the internet.

Jill Colonna

My John Travolta. Or was it a snazzy barman for the evening?

When my brother saw the party wig on Facebook, he thought I’d bought a dog. It wasn’t a dog but whatever it was, it was on top of my head most of the evening and I can tell you that it was sizzling underneath. So sweltering, that I dared take it off later and reveal the soggy dishwater blonde mop underneath. By that time, with the dancing and sweet (why did I want to write that with an ‘a’?) macarons served, who cared?

pannacottas, choux, hot macs & a sizzling wig

On the 80s food front, apparently microwave popcorn appeared in the USA but hey, we also wanted to serve up chic stuff.  So out came my good old favourites with easy recipes to prepare in advance: macarons and mini chocolate-beetroot fondants. On the day: ginger & cardamom panna cottas with rhubarb compôte, plus a huge batch of caramel-orange knitted-looking chouquettes (mini sugared choux buns).  We did serve up savouries, though. Try garlic snail toasts for starters, smoked duck and raspberry mini salads, Crab, Ginger & Coriander gluten-free quiches, Macsweens’ Haggis balls with whisky diane sauce … and mini mad macs.

Some like their macarons hot!

In the 80s, Mum and Dad went exotic with the latest Vespa curry mixes. So, some mini tikka mac’salas were a must to add some 80s pizzazz to hand around with drinks.  In making the curry macs (recipe on p.100), I should practise what I preach and done what I suggest in the book: use a disposable piping bag for piping out the curry filling. Now just look what I did: here’s what can happen with a potent curry filling mixing with a not-so-hot piping bag hooked up on the kitchen window (mac hook – it’s handy for drying it quickly.) I completely forgot the fresh coriander for the curry macs, so instead augmented the chili dose; don’t ask me why, but just as well they were tiny since they were hot, man!

My camera is not great. Unless you’re a static macaron and taken in the daylight, a Canon G10 is no use for night time and parties. It’s a crying shame there are no decent photos, since all 30 of us had so much fun dressing up and dancing. Then again, it’s probably for the best that they’re censored! If anyone knows me, I never have any New Year Resolutions but I’m putting in a quest for a new camera, just in case hubby ever reads this. I never bought these shoes near Place Vendôme – just gazed at them – if that helps my case.

Paris-Bangkok tea infused chocolate macarons

One Night in Bangkok macarons

This post is dedicated to MacTweets – as this month the MacAttack #26 Challenge was for Razzle Dazzle Macarons: featuring the Ostentatious with glitzy, dazzling and starry macarons. And being MacPassionate (love it, Deeba and Jamie), the party included One Night in Bangkok with some classic Madagascan Vanilla macarons – dusted with gold edible lustre to give it the in every golden cluster look from the Chess 80s musical.

Paris-Bangkok infused chocolate macarons

For an unexpected twist to dark chocolate macarons, I infused some Paris-Bangkok tea from Mariages Frères in the chocolate. The colour was purely to match the packaging, but I’m sure that it had something to do with the tea’s dazzling hints of red fruits, steamed pudding fragrances, and slight bubble gum tinges.

chocolate macarons infused with Mariage Freres tea Paris-Bangkok

It perhaps wasn’t Bangkok but it was One Night Near Paris and it rocked. I’m already planning the next one. We need more parties to chase away the winter blues, don’t you think? Vive starry nights, great friendships, laughter and loads of fun!

Saturday Night Disco Macaron Fever

Now I just need to keep a lower profile when picking up my daughter from school – unless you can give me some clues to the latest trendy numbers before the next move…

Leek, Pumpkin and Ginger Soup with Curry Macarons

Happy New Year! Have you all had fun over the festive season? Survived the gargantuan meals? It’s still not over for us yet. With Epiphany on Sunday 8th January, the traditional Galette des Rois are now in all the French pâtisseries and so it’s time to taste all the different variations: plain, chocolate, candied fruits… Admittedly, I prefer to make my own – just to ensure there’s the maximum amount of my favourite frangipane inside, sneak in some fancy trinkets, and change fillings such as this recipe for Praline and Pear Galette des Rois. But I’ve already talked about Epiphany on le blog.

It was good to be back in Scotland over the holidays with the family. Feeling the proudest auntie in the universe, I was introduced to another gorgeously smiling baby niece. Isn’t it amazing how you can easily forget how small they are? Especially when it seems like yesterday when my two girls were born, who are now wee ‘giants’! It’s great to see the wee ones enjoying their food so much, too. No wonder, as Grandpa was serving up his amazing warm homemade bread and Arbroath Smokie Pâté just for starters…

Take a leek or two…

On our return to France, I was listening to a French doctor on the radio, concerned for us all after over-indulging in rich, festive foods. His suggestion? Eat plenty of leeks. Apparently they help to clean out the gut. Trust the French to sound so poetic. With that, I headed straight to our local market and loaded up on leeks.

Are you ready for a tasty clean-out? Then this is the ideal soup to follow the Christmas – New Year extravaganza meals. The hardest part of making this soup is cutting up the pumpkin, but it’s worth the effort since it’s full of iron, zinc, fibre and carotene. Carotene is what we all need at this time of year to bring the glow back to our cheeks, and the ginger gives a great kick-start to 2012, as it’s great for digestion, keeping colds at bay and virility (I keep meaning to ask hubby on that one.)

Bring a healthy glow to kick-start the New Year

Leek, Pumpkin and Ginger Soup

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 35 minutes

40g butter
4 leeks, sliced
800g pumpkin,
roughly cut into cubes
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger (or 1 tsp ground ginger)
800ml chicken stock
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1.  Melt the butter in a large pot then soften the leeks, ginger and pumpkin together.  Sweat gently for about 5 minutes.

2.  Add the stock (just enough to cover the vegetables), cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.

3.  Blend with a hand mixer, add the nutmeg and season to taste.

pumpkin leek and ginger soup served with mini curry macarons

Or serve this as a mini amuse-bouche with macarons

Take Your Soup to the Next Level with Macarons

To garnish you could swirl in some naughty cream and sprinkle on smoked crispy bacon. For a festive look, add some herbs to look like holly and add a couple of pink peppercorns – although ATTENTION! Pink Peppercorns should be strictly avoided if you suffer from nut allergies – read more about it HERE from my friend, Christina.

Moreover, take your soups to another level and excited intriguing faces are guaranteed at the table. For macaronivores, why not serve with a couple of mini curry tikka mac’sala macarons (See page 100 of the book.)

Who wants baby bear’s bowl?

In between sane bowls of soup and greedy galettes, it’s just the right timing to prepare loads of macarons today for this weekend’s party. Hm. Too many choices of flavours – what favourites would you prefer to see on the table: classic or wacky? Dress is also ‘back to the 80s’. What on earth did we wear then? Do you remember? Shoulder pads? Jumpsuits? Disco gear? What would you wear?

Happy, Healthy Holidays!

spiced pumpkin and leek soup with curry macarons

Bonne Année – Bonne santé !