Anyone one who follows this blog will probably have guessed that I usually don’t do dainty.
But trapped in the house on a rainy Saturday afternoon, I decided to rustle up something different . Macarons are cute little almond meringue cookies, and can have a variety of fillings including butter cream or jam. I have used chocolate ganache, which sounds fancy but is basically just cream and chocolate.
If you’ve seen macarons for sale they can come in a variety of rainbow colours, and can be eye wateringly expensive. This is a bit of a rip off considering that while they might be a bit fiddly they’re not especially difficult to make. They also make great gifts.
For the mcarons
210 Grams Icing sugar
95 Grams Ground almonds
3 Egg whites (at room temperature)
50 Grams Caster sugar
1/2 Tsp Vanilla paste
Food colouring (this is optional, but it does help them look nice. I would recommend using gel or powdered food colouring)
For the ganache
100 Grams Dark chocolate
150 Grams Double cream
Add the icing sugar and ground almonds to a food processor and whizz for a couple of minutes
Sieve the sugar and almonds into a bowl, and discard any bits of almond that don’t go through the sieve
In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites with an electric whisk until they form soft peaks Gradually add the caster sugar, vanilla and food colouring until you have stiff peaks (you’ve probably saw on cooking shows when the cook holds the bowl over their head and nothing moves)
Start to fold in the sugar and almond mix with a spatula or large metal spoon in small batches
When fully combined, transfer the batter into a piping bag
On a sheet of baking paper, mark out circles about 3cm each. Put a dot of the batter on the four corners of a baking sheet and lay the baking paper on top (this will help it stay in place)
Pipe a blob of the batter on the pre drawn circles until you have used up all the mix. I ended up using 2 baking trays
Once you have piped all the mcarons, lift the trays a couple of inches and tap it down on the counter to get out any air bubbles. If you have any little tails of batter sticking up after piping, wet you finger and flatten them (it will stop them burning)
Allow the macarons to sit out for 30 minutes, this helps them set and forms a skin
Bake in an oven preheated to 150 degrees for 17 minutes, cool before filling
To make the ganache, break the chocolate into small bits and put in a microwave bowl. Melt the chocolate in the microwave (blast for 30 seconds at a time, be sure not to burn)
When the chocolate is melted, add the cream and stir until properly combined, allow to cool
When the ganache is cool, take a palette knife and spread the filling on the underside of a macaron the sandwich with another. Continue until all the macaron halves have been sandwiched together
This is a little teaser of the dessert for this week’s Supper Club. I like to test recipes before hand and this is a chocoholics dream.
I’m a total fan girl of Eric Lanlard (Cake Boy), his recipes are amazing. I wanted to try this for a while and eventually had a free day to try it. It’s not especially difficult, but it does take a while as you have to wait for the different layers to set.
I made mine in little jam jars. This is a really rich dessert, so you can make smaller versions in shot glasses if you don’t have an especially sweet tooth.
Makes 4-6 jam jars, more if you’re using smaller glasses
Dark chocolate layer
75 Grams Dark chocolate
1 Tsp Caster sugar
2 Eggs (separated)
Milk chocolate layer
75 Grams Milk chocolate
1/2 Tsp Caster sugar
2 Eggs (separated)
White chocolate layer
2 Egg yolks
2 Tbsp Caster sugar
150 Gram White chocolate
250ml Double cream
Melt the dark chocolate and sugar in a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Remove from the heat
Separate the eggs, and whisk the egg whites with an electric mixer until they reach the stiff peak stage
Quickly stir the egg yolks into the slightly cooled chocolate mixture
Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture until fully combined. Pour into glasses making sure there is an equal amount in each glass. Put into the fridge to set for 2 hours
For the milk chocolate layer, break into small pieces and melt along the sugar in a heat proof bowl over a simmering water. Remove from the heat once melted.
Separate the eggs, whisk the egg whites to the stiff peak stage.
Add the egg yolks to the chocolate and mix well
Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and mix until thoroughly combined. Top up the glasses that already have the dark chocolate and put back in the fridge to set
For the white chocolate layer, add the sugar and egg yolks to a heat proof bowl and heat over a pan of barely simmering water, whisk for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and continue whisking until the mix looks light and creamy
In a separate heat proof bowl, break up the chocolate and melt over a pan of simmering water.
In another bowl (yes I should have mentioned that you’ll have a lot of washing up, but it totally worth it), whip the cream with an electric whisk until it forms soft peaks
Add the melted chocolate to the egg and sugar mix and combine well
Fold the mix into the whipped cream, and then add to the glasses. Chill for another 3-4 hours
I would recommend not serving this pregnant women, or very young children.
Moroccan food is amazing, and healthy to boot. I had a proper tagine pot (authentic clay pot with a cone shaped lid), for all of 3 weeks before breaking it. The good thing is that you can make in any pot or dish with a well fitting lid. I cooked my tagine on the stove top, but can bake it in the oven if you prefer.
Tagines are slow cooked stews, and can be made with a variety of meat, and vegetables. Authentic tagines often use dried fruit such as prunes or apricots to add sweetness to balance out the heat of the harissa. I didn’t have any dried fruit, but this is still delicious. This is pretty hot, if you can’t handle alot of spice use less harissa or do what it did and add a dollop of yoghurt to cool things down.
8 Small Chicken thighs
1 Tbsp Olive oil
1 Large carrot
1 Large onion
1 Large courgette
1 Red pepper
1 Tsp Ground cumin
2 Cloves of garlic (minced)
1-2 Tbsps Preserved lemons (I made these myself, but you can also buy them from most supermarkets
1 Tbsp Harissa Paste (Again I made this myself, but you can buy this in supermarkets)
500ml Chicken stock (I used a stock cube)
400gm Can of chickpeas
In a large pan with a lid, add the olive oil, and when hot add the chicken thighs and seal
Cut the vegetables into chunks (I like this quite rustic)
Add the vegetables and cook for 5 minutes
Chop the preserved lemons finely and add to the pan along with the other ingredients and stir
Put the lid on to the pot and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook for 45 minutes
This is an easy, healthy curry that even the most ardent
meat lovers can enjoy.
Don’t be put off, if it seems that there are a lot of ingredients. I know I prattle on about how good Asian supermarkets are, but you can build up a good stock of cheap spices that will help change how you cook.
500gms Butternut Squash (peeled, deseeded, and diced)
200gms Frozen Peas
150gms Red Lentils
1 Large onion (chopped)
2 Tbsp Coconut or other oil
1 Red chilli pepper
4 Cloves of garlic
1 Tsp Fennel seeds
1 Thumb sized piece of ginger
2 Tsp Garam Masala
2 Cardamom pods
500ml Vegetable stock
2 Tbsp Chopped coriander
Add the fennel seeds and cardamom pods to a dry pan and toast until you can spell the spices.
Add the coconut oil and once heated add the onion and cook over a medium heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The onions should be cooked gently until they caramelise and turn brown. Taking the time to do this might seem like a bit of a faff, but it does help improve the depth of flavour
Add the butternut squash (which has been diced in 1.5cm cubes), and continue to cook over a gentle heat for 5 minutes
Grate the ginger and add to the pan along with finely chopped chilli, garam masala, red lentils, and vegetable stock, cook for a further 10 minutes
Add finely chopped garlic to the pan, along with frozen peas, and cook 5 more minutes
Check that the butternut squash is tender, and check the seasoning and adjust to your taste. (I usually go easy when adding chilli, as it’s always easier to add more, but if you like a super hot then go nuts)
Serve with basmati rice or naan bread (or both if you’re a total carb junkie like me). This curry reheats really well, and will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days
These were inspired by the great minds at Thug Kitchen, these food writers like myself, try to stay healthy and are prone to saying f*ck quite a lot. You can also use vegan dark chocolate if that’s your thing.
Gorgeous on a hot day, or my own guilty pleasure is to have them while sitting on the sofa with a cup of coffee. But f*ck it, eat them how you like.
6 Lollipop sticks
100 grams Dark chocolate (you can use vegan chocolate if that’s your thing)
1 Tsp. Coconut Oil
50 grams chopped almonds (peanuts,
or hazelnuts also work really well)
Line a baking sheet or plate with grease proof paper.
Toast the nuts in a dry pan, and set to one side. (It’s worth taking the time to do this, as it really improves the flavour).
Chop the chocolate and put in a bowl over a pot of barely simmering water, and allow it to melt. You can also try melting this in the microwave, by give it blasts of 30 seconds at a time. Once the chocolate has melted, stir in the teaspoon of coconut oil.
While the chocolate is melting, peel the bananas and cut width ways. Stick the lollipop stick up the middle of the banana from the flat end.
When the chocolate is melted dip the banana in it, using a spoon to cover any bits that aren’t covered.
Sprinkle the chocolate covered bananas with the nuts, place on the grease proof paper and put in the freezer for 2 hours.
When frozen if you aren’t going to eat these immediately, but them in freezer bag.