When you develop a passion for travel, you also gain a greater understanding of different cuisines. There’s no denying that travel and food go hand in hand and, when you get to learn about different cultures all around the world, part of the experience is also trying new dishes.
I love food. Not only eating it but cooking it, too. I get great pleasure from preparing recipes and using different ingredients. Cooking for me is relaxing, and there have been many occasions where I have tried to recreate dishes I have eaten abroad.
Although I enjoy cooking, the same can’t be said of baking. Sure, I can turn my hand to simple cupcakes and the like, but sweet treats really do elude my skills and I tend to shy away from it… Luckily, my harshest critic is Monkey, who will devour any cakes or cookies I make, regardless if they’re no good.
When we went to France a few years ago, he became enamoured with Madeleines after we bought some from a French patisserie. And ever since, he’s asked me to make them. I myself are rather partial to them, too – they go so well with a cup of coffee or tea.
Madeleines hail from the Lorraine region of northeastern France and are small sponge cakes with a distinctive shell shape and made from génoise batter. They’re light, sweet and terribly moreish and I really didn’t have the first clue on how to make them.
For years I’ve been using an old electric hand whisk when I make cake batter, and it’s not an easy job. For one thing, my hand gets tired, and another, the batter flies everywhere, so I end up having to clean up a splodgy mess.
So when I was sent a Morphy Richards Accent Black Stand Mixer which does all the hard work and even has a splash guard to prevent all those sticky catastrophes, I decided now was a good time as any to try baking Madeleines for myself.
After finding a classic French recipe, I was surprised how simple they are to make – they only consist of melted butter, flour, sugar, lemon and eggs. But the process was made all the easier when I could throw everything into the large stainless still mixing bowl and turn the dial, while I got on with other things.
Using the large whisk attachment, the mixer made short work of combining the eggs with the sugar, and then the rest of the ingredients. I was slightly taken aback by how loud it was while in use, but I was pleased there were no spatters, while the mixture appeared to be light.
After leaving the mix to stand for 20 minutes, I poured it into a pre-buttered Madeleine tin and put them in a preheated oven for 10 minutes. And the results were amazing. The Madeleines tasted like the ones I’ve had in France, and the whole family devoured them in a matter of hours. Monkey asked why I hadn’t made anymore!
I’ve never had a free-standing cake mixer, but can now understand why so many people do. They’re a revelation for baking enthusiasts and so easy to set up and use. The Morphy Richards Accent Black Stand Mixer also comes with a hook for homemade bread and pastries, as well as a beater. So I have no excuses now not to try out more recipes.
And, while I won’t be entering GBBO anytime soon, I can at least thow together some Madeleines at a moment’s notice, which will most definitely keep the family happy – and show off my talents when guests pop round for a cup of tea…
* This post was written in collaboration with JD Williams, who sent me the Morphy Richards Accents Black Stand Mixer for the purposes of this article. As always my views are my own.