Thursday, June 29, 2006

Strawberry Friands

Strawberry Friand

So to think this whole food blogging affair was only meant to be a hobby; something on the side, distant and not at all to interfere with my normal life. Well I not only have become a fully-operating food blogger but it has also infiltrated my waking and sleeping life. It’s a peculiar thing blogging, like a fungus it seeps in unknowingly and then all of a sudden you are overcome in its clutches and it begins to overtake the mundane routine of your life.

Not that I don't enjoy it, because I find documenting my gastronomic triumphs and disasters quite a delight. Also I find it forces me to do the best I can at making a recipe work. I have only been tending to this blog for less than a mere two months and I have already developed strong behavioural oddities that I can only attribute to this very thing. Here are my symptoms:

1. My tiny bedroom (which receives the most sunlight) has now become a makeshift photography studio.
This is not good when you are walking through your bedroom in the dark and you end up stubbing your toe on the tripod positioned in the middle of the room.

2. My dining selections are judged not only on the quality of food at a certain eatery, but also on how well the place is lit. If no beautiful photo essay can ensue from a restaurant, then I will be rather tentative to include it in the blog.
3. All potential handbag purchases must pass the “dimensions test”, namely "Will my not-so-tiny digital SLR fit in this bag?" and if the answer is “Yes”, then it’s hired!
4. No one touches their food unless I have taken a photograph of it, lest they want to encounter my wrath.
This is probably my most neurotic food blogging trait, and I am embarrassed even to admit.
5. Whenever I bake/cook for blogging purposes I only do so during the well lit hours of the day, if there is any cooking done at night a portion of the food must be saved in order for photos to be taken the following day when there is adequate light.
This is probably my second most anal blogging eccentricity that I am mortified to even be typing this right now.
6. I am now beginning to scour textile and stationery stores for good backgrounds for photos.
So far I have only two backgrounds that you will notice are interchanged every other post.

7. My dreams are beginning to be about food and blogging. Or should they be called nightmares, I don’t know?
8. And lastly, I now make plate purchases on the merits of how well the pieces photograph.

So here to celebrate the little idiosyncrasies brought about by food blogging is a recipe for Strawberry Friands. Also known as Financiers, these little cakes are ubiquitous in the Sydney cafe scene. They are spongy and moist and can be flavoured with almost any type of fruit or nut. Here is the recipe.

Strawberry Friands

(makes 6 friands)
Strawberry Friand
2/3 cup unsalted butter or ghee (clarified butter)
½ cup all purpose flour
1 cup almond meal or almond flour
1½ cups icing (confectioners or powdered) sugar
¼ tsp salt
6 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
½ tsp grated lemon zest
1 punnet strawberries, chopped into pieces. Slice some lengthways and reserve to decorate the tops later.

Place butter or ghee in a saucepan and simmer over medium heat until browned, be careful not to burn the butter. Set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 200°C.
In a bowl, combine flour, almond meal, icing sugar and salt.
Fold in the lightly beaten egg whites and then add the lemon zest, vanilla and browned butter. Mix until incorporated.
Then add the chopped strawberries, leaving those that are sliced lengthways for later. Mix until blended thoroughly.
Fill friand trays or moulds just almost to the top and lightly knock the tray or mould down onto the bench to release any trapped air bubbles.
Bake the friands for approximately 4 minutes. Then remove from oven and top each one with some sliced strawberries.
Return to oven and bake for a further 5-7 minutes or until the cake springs back when pressed.
Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

NOTE: The browned butter or ‘beurre noisette’ adds a hint of nuttiness to the friands. Also if almond meal or flour is unavailable you can make your own by processing blanched almonds until finely ground.
You can add any type of berry or fresh fruit to the friands, just follow the basic recipe and improvise your fruits!


Vintage Wine said...

Thank you for your kind comment on my blog!

So far, I`ve only read this post but you really made me smile & I`ll read on now ;-) I haven`t blogged that long myself but I already agree with you on several topics you`ve listed!

Is it OK if I link to your blog?

Helene said...

I am in the same boat for # 4 through 8...I woke up from a pink macarons dream this morning, and spent a good bit of my morning in search of cool props!

Love those friands/financiers!

Julie said...

Much of this sounds familiar. When choosing what to cook for dinner I often consider whether or not it will make good blog fodder, and how to get a photograph of whatever I've made always figures in to the logistics.

It makes getting dinner on the table a complicated business.

Tanna said...

Oh, yes, yes and yes!!! Histerical laughs. It is a very strange set of symptoms and all are extremely common. You have the correct diagnosis: Blogger-itis!
The Strawberry Friands look glorious!

Veggies,Yarns&Tails said...

Wow, what beautiful photos and a great post, Im glad I stopped by. I totally agree with you re: blogging, I am just in the process of upgrading and expanding to a more commercial blog...I absolutely LOVE blogging, 4 months of it has made me a blogaholic. Best part, so many great people Ive 'met' online. Their encouragement, support and sharing their live's ups and downs have made this experience truly rewarding.

Happy Cooking from Canada, G :)

Anita said...

Yes, you've described my symptoms perfectly! Part of the reason I left my old apartment was because it got terrible light! And in my new one, I am aware of where the best light comes in and when to shoot. And I bemoan my lack of interesting plates.
Nice shot of the strawberry friand!

Guru said...

I can´t stand it anymore! I NEED TO BAKE!!!! :) hopefully in the weekend .... great pics!

Joe said...

Beautiful shots!

Riana said...

LOL, everything you wrote is soooo true, my husband has to ask if he can eat yet! YOu are a wonderful writer.


Kali said...

Thanks for stopping by and introducing yourself over at my blog.
Well now I'm really glad, because your pics are beautiful. Oh boy can I sooo relate to your description of blogging...hehehe.
What great gastronomical delights you make, I think I will have to try making some ~ yum !

kishko said...

oh yes, it all starts so innocently doesn't it? and then before we know it, we are food blogging addicts!

jenjen said...

I'm glad im not alone!!! It's nice to know that there are others out there that behave in this crazy manner as I, all in the name of blogging! That's a relief : )

Vintage Wine- thanks for visiting and to your hearts content!

Tanna- blogger-titis, I like that. You have now coined a term for our condition.

Guru- my only advice is to surrender to your baking urges... you won't regret it!

Vintage Wine said...

Thank you, I`ll get on it right away :-)

PiCkLeS said...

do you know that after years of eating Friands i only found out it was called a Friands this year...i just always thought it was a cupcake without icing.

Bruno said...

Hi Jenjen,

What you wrote put a smile on my face because it is so true! I think the correct diagnosis for your condition is OCBD (i.e., obsessive compulsive blogging disorder). Don't seek treatment for it though because I'm afraid it would stifle your creativity!

By the way, very nice photos!!


jenjen said...

Pickles- LOL, you are too funny! Better late than never, I think.

Bruno- he he he, thanks for the diagnosis, I agree I don't think its treatable.

pinknest said...

oh, hahaha! i know #4 very well! all my friend have been "trained" now to not touch the food until it's been photographed. they even offer it up now as a showcase. :)

keiko said...

This looks lovely! I shall give it a try soon... :)

Adventurous Twenty-Something said...

This post is exactly how I feel. Although I am taking a break from my food blog for a few months, I am blogging my travel adventures in Mexico. But I can´t believe how much the food blogging took over my day to day activities before I left. Keep up the awesome work I truly adore your photos and your recipes.

Faith said...

Ha! I can totally relate! What a great post. My spare bedroom is taken over with very makeshift setups for taking photos, and there's still cumin seeds scattered in the carpet. I find forks randomly lying on the floor, and I keep colorful napkins in a basket by the door. It's slightly embarrassing.

ilingc said...

hey jenjen,

just wanted to let you know this is a fab recipe! i just made it the other day and if it's ok with you, i'm inteding to copy the recipe and link my post back to yours.

re: the little idiosyncrasies.

i've started to develop my own too

i can relate to your 4, 7 and 8.

i still bake at night but have now started to take photos in the morning before i go to work to take advantage of the empty house and bright sunlight in the living room. :)

The Caked Crusader said...

I love friands with raspberries - great sweet/tart contrast.
I often find they take a little longer to bake than some recipes say and rely on the 'clean skewer' test!