, but a morsel

Thursday, 26 May 2011

I see you note that puzzling use of punctuation there - I'm taking a little artistic license and asking for a wee pause. I can do that. This post would mark a (sort of) momentous occasion I believe! The first of a brand new venture, and step (or should I say, giant leap) in a more culinary direction. I've decided to do a little show and tell today. I was standing in the cookery section in the book shop (one of my happy places), having a squiz when a little stack of biccies catches my eye - macarons that is, people. 

Said, stack
Now see here, the correct word is 'macaron' not 'macaroon' (yes you, australian women's weekly). Macaroons are chewy little biscuits with desiccated coconut through them. I'm alluding to the soft shelled almond discs filled with smooth-as-silk ganache or cream of the francophile variety. They're actually from Italy originally. It would seem that zumbo fella is onto something, he's struck a patisserie gold. People have officially gone ga ga for macarons. Why now? Because never could you have gotten so much satisfaction out of a single mouthful. Well you could of, but obviously no one wanted to.

Purveyors: zumbo in sydney has been hyped to the hilt. he's gotten rave reviews about his macarons in sydney because he's practically the only one marketing them. plus, there's 'macaron day' at his balmain patisserie which makes the crowds go wild (riding that sugar high). All i'm going to say about his are that the flavour choices are great, but the high sugar content detracts from this. They're just too sweet! He has perfected the crunchy outside and soft, chewy inside but my poor arteries give a yelp at the sight. Anywho, I'm reserving my final judgement for when I hit the macaron 'houses' (yes, i'm equating to fashion) in fair Paris i.e. Ladurée (king macaron) and Pierre Hermé (big daddy). Let the games begin...(in January, that is)

The shop window of Ladurée, I die.
Photo credit:
Mariam Sitchinava
So let's stick with I've tried a fair few macarons in my day. You'd actually be surprised at the triumphs that can be made in the home kitchen (when it all works out). But I have never personally made them before. It's like the final frontier. So on a bit of an impulse today i purchased a cookbook dedicated to macarons (so sue me for buying into the hype). This one was accompanied by at least 5 other books with exactly the same agenda. But why 'Secrets of Macarons' by José Maréchal? Well a) he's actually french b) he's a patissier with a cafe in paris c) the book is pretty damn good looking (i'm such a sucker for food styling, i tell you) d) his surname is the same as a french teacher i used to have. And sold! 

Re: 'c)' See what I mean?!
José writes the book more as an all encompassing manual to perfecting the art rather than including the 50 gajillion different flavour combinations you can have for your macarons. I'd want to nail the basics before i move on to any tricky stuff. my piping bag cost $2 for chrissakes...i might need to upgrade. anyway, he makes an effort to explain the science behind the almonds, eggs and sugar etc so that it all makes sense when it comes to working them into the batter or meringue. once you've got the plain macaron figured, then you can move onto flavours. the book features 9 basic macaron flavours like pistachio, lemon and coffee and then moves on to the more advanced like double pistachio (can it get any better?), hazelnut and honey. 

Had enough yet? I'm only teasing :P
It's all pretty enticing really. and did i mention the book is beautiful? I'm not sure if this book needs any more spruiking. Hopefully justice can be done in the kitchen. I shall report on my macaron cherry-popping, when and if I get around to it. Until next time! 

Stills from book: Booktopia

Coming soon peeps ;)

Monday, 2 May 2011


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