Mini Rhubarb Crumbles

Make-in-advance easy peasy: rhubarb rose compote, crunchy oat crumble topped with the lightest white chocolate mousse. Just top with a macaron!

Macaron Gifts for UK Mother’s Day

Each time the end of March comes around, Mother’s Day takes me by surprise. It’s not that I’m trying to be the most awful daughter in the world, it’s just that I have a French diary. French diaries plot la fête des Mères at the end of May.  UK Mother’s Day is at the end of March.  How can I forget? You’ll be telling me that Mum’s Day is different in America and Australia, too?  Er, 11th May, to be precise. Can we have a set Mother’s Day for everyone, please?

rue de Paris street sign in St Germain-en-Laye

This UK Mothering Sunday on the 11th, we won’t be together.  It’s not that we’re so far away, we just can’t pop over for a chat with tea and scones or macarons. For the past 21 years, apart from regular visits, our main shuttle has been from Paris to Edinburgh via ‘phone.

Mum’s the world’s best listener.  She’s a shoulder to cry on and the perfect hugger.  ‘You just want a warm, don’t you?’, she teases my eldest, Julie. Lucie says, ‘I love Granny’s smell’. Me too, plus the ironing smell.

rue d'Edimbourg sign in Paris

Somehow Mum is always there for her grandchildren and still for me.  She’s there in my mind when I can’t find the whatsit truc I hid in a safe place. How could I possibly scoff as a young Mum, thinking that I’d be different one day when she’d hand me a Christmas present in April, explaining that Santa had mislaid it?

rose and orange blossom macarons for Mother's Day gift

Mum’s favourite macarons: rose and orange blossom

Now that the house renovations are nearly finished, I’m going through photos and came across this one: Granny and Grandpa with the girls over on a visit to Paris about 5 years ago.  They had taken the kids to the Tuileries Gardens and just before returning on the RER, they bought ice-creams. On arrival home, naturally the kids were excited to describe the highlight of their day (yes, they are kind of food orientated) but on realising it was just before dinner, I earned my nickname, ‘The French Police’.

Paris family visit to the Tuileries Gardens

Still crying for the ice-cream!

I remember that day vividly now and can’t think about it without tears swelling.  What a jerk I was.  So, the French don’t eat between meals and I’ve become one of them?  Perhaps, but why did I ruin an evening?  Mum, I’m owe you a lifetime of macarons, on demand.

Mum’s favourite macarons are rose and orange blossom; and let’s not forget Dad’s which are lemon meringue, chocolate and milk chocolate caramel.  Thank goodness for the freezer, when I can store some in advance for any visits!

macaron gift box with pink ribbon

Next Christmas, don’t throw away greetings card boxes like this one: they make excellent macaron boxes.

Save chocolate boxes, too.  This was the perfect size for a wee present of chocolate-pistachio macarons just to say, Thank You!

pistachio and chocolate macarons in gift box

Other times I’ve dared to use an old Ladurée macaron gift box. This one was bought from our nearest ‘Capital of Sweden’ store.

macarons in a gift box home made

Other boxes I’ve collected from my visit to NYC, when I popped into The cellophane clear wrapping on the left is ridiculously cheap bought in a large pack (such as 50 treat bags or 100 treat bags from Wilton). Keep fancy ribbons handy and it’s a quick doggy bag treat for visitors.

dark chocolate and caramel macaron gift packs

Large carton patisserie boxes (like these cake boxes), are not only excellent for storing a large batch of macs in the fridge and, when ready to eat 24 hours later, wrap a bow around it for an elegant but speedy present.

patisserie box of chocolate macarons

Life is a box of chocolate and caramel macarons …

Funnily enough, Mum was the one who gave me these treasure chest and striped pastel paper boxes. ‘I’m sure they’ll be perfect for macarons’, she said with a sweet twinkle in her eye.

chocolate macarons in treasure paper box

dark chocolate macaron treasure!

I completely forgot about these until the other day.  I found them wrapped up carefully in a large paper bag. 
They were in a safe place.

pastel macaron gift box mixed flavours

Just perfect for her next visit.

Wishing you all a wonderfully precious Mother’s Day,

whenever it comes!

Macarons for Valentine’s. The Romantic French? Aye Write!

It’s that rosy time of year again. You’re expecting me to go all gushy on you, aren’t you?  Living in one of the most romantic places in the world and being married to a Frenchman must make anyone go weak at the knees at this time of year, right?

I love France and the French. I love Paris and where we live, surrounded by such a gourmet foodie culture. I love macarons. I love my husband. Not in that order, of course. I used to be a soppy romantic; now I just go weak at the knees when I find myself driving around the Arc de Triomphe.

There’s something about living in France that brings out the more serious in you, though. Hard to believe? I dreamed that my Frenchman would whisk me off my feet, feed me with French romantic phrases; and pop the question on bended knee at our ‘local’, up in the Eiffel Tower’s Jules’ Verne restaurant, producing a surprise box over the most dreamy Parisian pâtisserie dessert.

Who am I kidding? We were just starting out with new jobs, living in a matchbox studio in the 7th arrondissement. That was already pretty chic but you couldn’t swing a cat in the place. I won’t embarrass Antoine in front of you about how he proposed in real life. How could I expose him – much that it’s tempting – as he never has time to read le blog? My adorable Frenchman has gradually become more romantic over the years, however. Could it be that macarons make the heart grow fonder? Like a blockbuster bottle of Burgundy, each year together just gets better and better. (If I said, ‘improves with age’ that makes us sound like old fogies, no?)

What’s sweeter than saying, “Darling, we don’t need one day in the year to give presents and say how much we love each other”? Too true. In any case, he’s on biz galavanting around India this week so he has a valid excuse. I’ll enjoy a cosy evening with my girls at home which is just as special: we can secretly enjoy lentil and bacon soup with oh-so-British cheese scones without him going into cultural convulsions. But I know that after a few days, it will ware off. When he returns in a couple of weeks, we’ll have our usual candlelit French dinner together like any other day in the year. La vie en rose? Aye right. If I’m in luck, his suitcase will be filled with curry leaves and exotic, original spices – but my guess is it will be full of mini hotel shampoos and conditioners.

Before he left, he tasted these macarons to accompany that White Chocolate Valentine Mousse recipe. No guesses as to what kind they are, if you already saw my previous post. I’m addicted to them already and keep wanting to make more. Quite simply, it’s a cross between a rose macaron and a orange blossom macaron: it’s a rose-orange blossom macaron and it’s bliss!

Simply follow the recipe for either Rose macarons (on p. 45) or Orange Blossom Macarons (on p. 77 of Mad About Macarons!) Replace the fragrant water with both 2 tbsp rose water and 2 tbsp orange flower water. It’s that simple, and you’ll taste them both in there. Can you imagine that with a glass of bubbly?  It’s what dreams are made of. Who needs posh restaurants?

Aye Write! Free Tickets to Give Away

Want to learn how to make macarons like the French? Come to Glasgow for the annual Book Festival in Scotland, Aye Write! I’ll be demonstrating how to make macarons as well as answer your questions. It’s a great excuse to meet each other and even taste some macarons.

When and Where?

Saturday 10 March at the Mitchell Library, 11:00-12:00.
Reserve your place now at the Aye Write website!

Waverley Books have FOUR entry tickets to give away. To enter, just leave a comment below saying “My favourite macaron is…..” Tell us what kind of macaron says it for you. The Giveaway ends Sunday 19 February. I’ll announce the winners on Tuesday 21 February, when I have a special guest coming to join us on le blog.

Valentine macarons on a date in Paris

If you didn’t see last year’s Valentine’s post, then take a look at this recipe for rose panna cotta with a cherry and cardamom coulis. After something more red velvet? Then check out this recipe for chocolate and beetroot fondants.

Happy Valentine’s, my friends and extra hugs to your loved ones.

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 !

Impress friends

at afternoon tea with classic flavours such as dark chocolate, lemon meringue or rose.  Or create a storm with your teacup with more adventurous concoctions, such as pistachio-white chocolate-wasabi with a cup of green tea.  Or simply be inspired with Jill’s recipes to create your very own concoctions…