Dear Darling Readers,
First of all, thank you so much for all your lovely comments and all your amazing macaron flavour suggestions last week - you guys are so creative - I love it! If you love macarons or you're a food blogger and are looking for inspiration for your next macaron post, you seriously must check out last weeks comments - you'll be dazzled by some of the suggestions, I promise. I already know which one I'm making.
And don't get me started on all your lovely emails! I received some amazingly heartfelt & emotional letters from you that I absolutely loved - some made me laugh and some made me cry, but most made me happy - thank you so much. I had no idea when I was originally writing my post that so many of you would relate to it on such an emotional level. I am glad I could 'help' those that I could, and I'm grateful for all your brilliant advice, comments and suggestions. I love you guys. You're the best readers any blogger could ever hope for!
Anyway, without further ado, the winner of last weeks macaron giveaway as chosen by Jean is:
Queenie Yee with 'Saffron Kiss'
Congratulations! Not only will a box of macarons be sent out to you, but Jean will be making your macarons, naming them after you, and sending you a box of those too. How fabulous is that? I'm so jealous.
It's been a bit of a mad week, but I'm feeling so full of hope for new beginnings. It all started last week when I noticed how much brighter it was in the evenings. Then I saw the first snowdrops of the year, and now I know spring is just around the corner, after what seems like an eternal winter.
At some point last week I also realised I'd lost my time management mojo. I used to take pride in how well I managed my time, but somewhere along the way I lost track of things to the point where I realised I was drowning in work that, if properly organised, could be very manageable. To top it all off, and because I'd been rushing things, I received a friendly email saying I'd forgotten to add an ingredient to the ingredients list in one of my recipes. Needless to say, I nearly died of embarrassment.
I thank you deeply from the bottom of my heart for any and all emails you send me correcting me, my writing and/or letting me know about spelling/grammatical/ANY mistakes. In fact, I encourage you to do so wholeheartedly *please*. But I have to say, it was a wake up call and made me realise that I'd been spreading myself too thin, and I needed to take more time to complete and enjoy the things I consider to be important to me.
After making that all important adjustment to that recipe, I went online to find some help (what exactly did we do before the internet?), and rediscovered a blog I used to read called Unclutterer. It has such brilliant posts like Time Saving Tips & Establishing Routines. It also has great links to other time management sites, and if you do read it, don't forget to read the posts' comments. You'll find some invaluable advice there.
Having awoken my dormant mojo, I had a really good (early) spring clean of the flat, cleared out drawers and cupboards, gave a lot of clothes to charity, and shredded a whole pile of papers that I'd been meaning to shred for ages now (so therapeutic!). I also got a lot of my photos, paperwork and filing sorted out, but there's still a lot more to be done.
Which leads me nicely into this week's giveaway (this one's personal, just from me to you, with lots of love): I've got 3 copies of the new gorgeous Moleskine Passions Recipe Journal for you guys (I got one for myself too so I hopefully won't be forgetting any ingredients any time soon).
All you have to do to be in with a chance to win is leave a comment letting me know what your time management tips and tricks are - this could be anything from how you organise your life, to blogs/sites/books you read about time management or organising, to anything that saves you time. The closing date for this giveaway is Friday 19th of February, and it's open to everybody, everywhere. Winners will be chosen at random by myself and announced next week.
Now let's talk baking. Last week was Valentine's, and did I make anything pink or heart shaped? Nope. Today is Pancake Day, and what am I making? Chocolate Madeleines. I'm not a big fan of doing what everyone else does at the same time, on the same day. If you'd like a great recipe, you must try my version of Bill Granger's Ricotta Hotcakes - you'll flip over them! As for the madeleines, I love making these as they are so quick and easy to whip up. I used an old recipe from a very good French friend of mine which I've altered slightly. Enjoy!
(for a printable version of this recipe, click HERE)
Makes roughly 60 mini-madeleines
180g butter, melted
180g plain flour
180g caster sugar
2 heaped tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1. Preheat oven to 180˚C. Grease a madeleine pan by brushing it with butter.
2. Whisk eggs and sugar for about 5 minutes until the mixture thickens.
3. Mix in flour, cocoa powder and baking powder.
4. Mix in melted butter.
5. Transfer the batter into a piping back and pipe into the madeleine pan.
6. Bake for roughly 10 minutes. The madeleines are ready if the cakes spring back when lightly poked.
- Madeleines are best eaten warm, straight out of the oven. They don't keep long and dry out very quickly. Eat as soon as possible.
- I find the madeleines keep longer when dipped in melted chocolate. This allows the madeleines to remain moist.
- Madeleines are supposed to be served rounded side up. For the purpose of my photos, I wanted flatter madeleines, so I omitted the baking powder. I also wanted to take advantage of the venation, so I've displayed them rounded side down.