Now that was a long nap…
Sorry for the long delay, it seems as though the Christmas rush has descended on Sydney in all means and measures. Work has been a frenzied hive of commotion in preparation for the holidays and we have barely even had time to scratch ourselves. For some people, shirts have remained unchanged after days of being at work, unkempt hair has been the style around the workplace and days of lost sleep have resulted in inventive attempts at concealing bloodshot eyes; it’s a glamourous job as you can see. I’ve got bags under my eyes the size of wineskins and I’ve been forced to live on bowls of popcorn and Redskins that will probably make my thighs the size of Grecian columns.
Not only has work been busy, but the shopping centres have also begun to burst with both eager and reluctant shoppers determined to get their Christmas shopping done. The Christmas crowds are quickly filling the shopping centres and you know how much I hate crowds; although it’s ironic that I am one of the crowd, yet they still bother me. I think it’s the fact that it is virtually impossible to walk in a straight line without colliding into another person. And when you are carrying 5 full bags of shopping you are somehow still expected to move out of a person’s way that is carrying a bag equivalent to the weight of a hairless Chihuahua. It almost requires some sort of military training to make your way through those busy aisles, dodging brimming shopping carts and the ubiquitous pram that nowadays seems to take up the same space as a 12-seater bus. Luckily I am what polite people call petite and I can easily slip through cracks in the crowd without infuriating other shoppers.
Well, I can’t believe its only 17 days until Christmas and although I do like to bemoan the crowds of which I am a part of, I really am full of Christmas cheer. I absolutely do love Christmas and at the risk of sounding cliché, the spirit of Christmas is all about love, hope and peace, and in reality it’s a message that everyone can share in regardless of what you believe. I think that is why I love Christmas, it’s inclusive, rather than exclusive; homes and hearts are opened up, and in a city like Sydney, Christmas just makes the whole place light up, quite literally, in fact.
If you ask me, another thing that makes me light up are these madeleines (it's a pitiful segue, I know, but bear with me, I am sleep deprived). I have always loved these delightful little treats although never blogged about them until recently, and now I am blogging two madeleine recipes within a week of each other, fancy that!
These two recipes, one being Shannon Bennett’s recipe for plain madeleines and this one from Gourmet Traveller’s Chocolate Edition for Chocolate Madeleines are my two favourite recipes, quite simply because they work, without fail. Of all the recipes I have attempted, these two have produced the best texture, taste and crumb by far. That is just my opinion and I have yet to try Dorie Greenspan’s recipe which could possibly make the list too, but don’t quote me on these being the best madeleine recipes ever, I am certain not all of you will find these to be the best. But if you’re interested in finding out here’s the recipe.
HAPPY CHRISTMAS SHOPPING!
From Gourmet Traveller’s CHOCOLATE
makes 20 madeleines
Soft butter, for greasing
100g unsalted butter, diced
70g plain all-purpose flour
25g Dutch-process cocoa
40g ground almonds pinch of salt
110g caster sugar, plus extra for coating
Brush a madeleine tin with soft butter and refrigerate until cold, then repeat process. Melt chopped butter in a small saucepan until foamy and light brown, then remove from heat and strain through a fine sieve. Cool. Sift together flour, cocoa, ground almonds and salt into a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, whisk eggs and sugar until mixture holds a trail. Add flour mixture and cooled butter to the eggs and stir gently until well combined. Stand mixture for 10 minutes, then spoon level tablespoons of mixture into holes of prepared tin and make at 190°C for 8-10 minutes. Carefully transfer madeleines onto a wire rack to cool. Repeat process with remaining madeleine batter, remembering to double butter and chill the tin before baking. Brush part of the madeleines with some melted butter and dip in caster sugar. Dust off extra sugar.
By the way, if you’re interested, what I got for my birthday... I received some really wonderful gifts, one being a gorgeous Tiffany’s necklace from G and also this little beauty from some girlfriends, which I know most of you will be excited about…
Will the next few posts come from this book? Of course!