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Tea Time in Paris with a Romantic Candle Giveaway!

Last week in Paris, as we celebrated a traditional Scottish Burn’s Night, I couldn’t help reminiscing about our Scottish-French wedding, or alliance. Are we sniffing romance in the air on le blog as Valentine’s Day approaches? Och, who loves an excuse to light beautifully scented candles, just to create a cosy and uplifting ambience at home?

My talented friend, Laura Hastings – of Rosslyn Candle Company fame in Scotland – has created a particularly perfect alliance with one of her handmade soy wax candles. Inspired by a recent holiday to Paris and love of Parisian macarons, she’s made a naturally fragranced candle, blending Scotland and France in a stylish re-usable Paris teacup. It’s called the “Auld Alliance.”

Now she’s offering a lucky reader anywhere in the world the chance to win it!

A clever eco-friendly candle…

Why “The Auld Alliance”? Laura’s candle celebrates the centuries-old friendship between Scotland and France. First agreed in 1295, the Auld (Old) Alliance was built on Scotland and France’s shared needs.  From the Scots’ point of view, it brought tangible benefits through pay as mercenaries in France’s armies and the pick of the finest French wines.

The scents of both countries are brought together in Laura’s “Auld Alliance”. The fragrance is a blend of relaxing French lavender and uplifting geranium, with a hint of Scottish heather. Hm. I feel a macaron coming on…

Like all of Laura’s candles, they’re made of natural soy wax: so they’re eco-friendly, don’t produce toxins like paraffin candles, they last longer and they don’t leave any black sooty smears on the walls!

The Rosslyn Candle Company produce their handmade candles just a stone’s throw away from the world-famous Rosslyn Chapel near Edinburgh, the Scottish Capital.  Sensibly priced in tins, teacups and vintage, their candles have scents which evoke the peace and quiet of the countryside in which they are located.

Many of you will remember the book “The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown.  The film of the book starred Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou, whose French character Sophie Neveu discovered her Scottish family near the end of the film.

OK, are you ready?

I burn for 40 hours and I can be re-used for your tea and macarons!

International Giveaway is Now Closed – and the winner is…

Congratulations to Dianne Micallef from Malta, who has won this unique, 40 hour Paris teacup candle, scented with Rosslyn Candle Company’s “Auld Alliance” fragrance!

Competition Answer: In “The Da Vinci Code” movie, Roslin Chapel was used as a location in Scotland.

Feel free to email Laura (laura@rosslyncandlecompany.co.uk) to order her soy wax candles in a teacup online or to receive her occasional e-newsletter (you can unsubscribe at any time).

Have a look at Rosslyn Candle Company’s gorgeous candles at www.rosslyncandlecompany.co.uk and don’t forget to like them on Facebook!

French Rose Geranium Macarons

A Parisian window without geraniums is like a macaron with no filling.

Even starting out as students in our first Parisian apartment, geraniums brightened up our rickety shutters. It was one of the first things a girl-fresh-from-Scotland just had to do to feel a little French. The other Frenchie things: the discrete bum-wiggle walk, the designer handbag, the slender figure – “le look”, quoi – would need rather more time (20 years on, I’m still awaiting this transformation), but at least this was something easy in the meantime. Le quick fix.

Along by the Parisian quays, it’s also de rigueur.  Geraniums are beautifully decked out on peniches, or houseboat barges moored along by the Seine.

Outside Paris, geraniums are coordinated with more colourful shutters for le country look.

So pretty, jolie, French. But have you heard of the rose geranium or pelargonium? When you rub their velvety leaves, a strong lemony-rose scent perfumes the fingers and can pack a powerful punch. Can you imagine the next scene?  No, not Rocky – more a French garden scene, peut-être.

Pop in for a rose macaron with a pot of darjeeling, mes amis

Rose geranium leaves can be used to perfume your baking. For your macarons, follow the rose recipe on page 45 of Mad About Macarons. Omit the rose water, using 100ml (3 1/2 fl oz) cream and infuse a few pelargonium leaves in it. Turn off the heat, cover and leave to infuse for an hour. Turn the delicately scented cream back on the heat and follow the recipe. Adding just a few drops of rose geranium aroma just gives it that extra je ne sais quoi for a most delicious macaron sensation.  It tastes of rose, but it’s not.

Anyone for a rose-geranium macaron?

Sue, of Tales from the Giantswood, also has an interesting tip with rose geranium leaves: put the leaves in a sealed jar of sugar and when you bake a cake, place the leaves at the bottom and when it’s baked, peel them off and your cake has the lovely scent of rose geranium. Why not place the rose geranium leaves in caster sugar and use the sugar later in your macaron making?

So sit back and relax with a pot of Darjeeling tea and a few rose geranium macarons.  You deserve it.  It’s decadent but don’t forget that macarons are gluten free and if they’re homemade, you’re saving for that designer handbag, n’est-ce pas? Now, where was I on that bottom wiggle? No question about it: I shall always be behind on that one.

Rose geranium macarons

Time has come, my friends, for me to take a small blogging break. Well, most of Paris is shutting down for the holidays so I may as well join them. 😉 I can’t thank you enough for all of your wonderful support via your comments on Le Blog and for sharing in the fun of macarons in macaronivoreland. I shall see you again on 29 August for more mad macarons, French recipes, and foodie adventures in Paris and around my local haunts.  I have so much in store for you so stay tuned.

Great Party Times Giveaway

Don’t forget the Mad About Macarons! competition over at Pippa Middleton’s site, ‘The Party Times. You have until 13th August (2011) to post your entry – you could be one of the 10 lucky winners to receive a copy of the book.  The competition is open to everyone – no matter where you live – so head on over and join in the fun! Good luck.

Egg Yolk Recipe Series

It’s a real pleasure to have my friend, Carolyn – otherwise known as FoodDreamer – as my guest this week.  She has shared her wonderful recipe for Rum and Toasted Coconut Ice Cream.  It’s not just a dream to taste – it’s also sugar free, low carb and gluten free.  How cool is that?