Thursday, 4 October 2012

Musings and Macaroons

I like food and could talk about it all day - I really love a nice juicy burger or nachos (oh yeah!) , but at the moment, I am pretty consumed by baking. I love it – watching it, doing it, eating it! It's just so much fun - even when things go a bit wrong.
It helps that this year’s Great British Bake Off is a bit of a cracker. I don’t know about anyone else but I’m rooting for Danni – as the sole woman remaining – and John who I’ve warmed to the last couple of weeks. I think Brendon could well win it though as he seems pretty determined and is consistent but I must admit I wasn’t a fan of his gingerbread twee cereal coated birdhouse! As Paul Hollywood himself said “just too much!” I do like Mary Berry though – but I envisage her a complete diva backstage (and secretly hope that she is!) Who else is in it? Oh James – great gingerbread barn! I am also a huge Mel and Sue fan – they are such a delight to watch and the programme itself is so warm and fuzzy and BBC2… you know it’s safe – even when there was serious drama with blood and horror, it was all done very tastefully. If you’re also a fan, I highly recommend this blog – you’ll never be able to say Star Baker without humming along to Boney M J
So the GBBO has reminded me how much I love baking so recently I treated myself to a new baking book and decided that I would bake something new once a week on a Sunday for me and my family. The results, and we’re only into week 3, have been mixed. The first week, I went for Toffee Apple Cake which was almost great but nowhere near enough apples so made a note to double the amount for next time! Then the next weekend, I went for Pear & Chocolate Cake as it was my mother  in law’s birthday and the middle was so raw that when I tipped it out to cool it, the entire centre of the cake fell out L So instead she got a marble cake which turned out ok but wasn’t swirly enough!
So anyway, if you’re still with me – this weekend, I’m going for simple (hopefully) scrumptious coconut macaroons. A favourite from my childhood, I’ve never made them but they sound easy – famous last words. I’ll post a picture!

As mentioned, I do like food and tend to read about it quite a bit (I absolutely love murder mystery books where the detective is a cupcake maker or tea-shop owner and the like! Not as much as medieval murder mysteries with nuns and monks doing each other in - perfect!). Anyway, I  was sucked in to the story of Antonin Careme who was known as the King of Chefs. Abandoned by his parents in Paris in 1794 at the height of the French Revolution, he worked his way up to a patisserie apprenticeship and off he went! He made massive structures from sugar and marzipan and was credited with inventing nougat - what a guy! He even cooked for Napoleon and was once set a test by his employer to create a whole year's worth of menus, without repetition and using only seasonal produce. He passed, of course! 
I can’t hope for that sort of creativity with my baking but I’m game and have a willing source of tasters in my husband and two children. I always thought I was lucky as they will eat anything (as tonight’s dinner clearly showed) but perhaps they’re just really good actors!

"Actors are able to trick themselves into treating anything as if it's fantastic. It's a kind of madness really."

Tom Baker

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