Parma violet macarons

Well here we go again, a large absence on my part……..oops x I think I just have to accept that I am not going to blog as much over the summer period. Lots of very exciting things going on to keep me distracted. But I will try to put up the odd post here and there x

Today is a good one, I’ve been working on this macaron recipe for a while now to get it right and I’m pleased to finally be sharing it with you all now.

Parma violets are a firm favourite from my childhood and I could smell them all day, the smell is so amazing!! So I had to find a way to incorporate them in to a recipe!! I hope you like these as much as I do!! πŸ™‚ x

Parma violet macarons

Ingredients: Shells

  • 200g icing sugar
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 80ml water
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 2 x 80g egg whites (approximately the egg whites of 4 large eggs)
  • 1tsp violet flavouring
  • food colouring
  • Crystallised violet petals

Filling:

  • 200ml Double cream
  • 1tsp vanilla extract

Parma violet macarons

Method:

  1. Mix the icing sugar and ground almonds together thoroughly until you have a fine, even powder. Sieve and set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, bring the water and the caster sugar to the boil. Use a thermometer to ensure that the temperature of the syrup does not exceed 110ΒΊC. This is very important.
  3. Whisk half the egg whites until they form soft peaks, not too stiff.
  4. Decrease the speed of the whisk, then, still whisking, pour the sugar syrup over the egg whites in a thin line. Continue whisking until the mixture has almost cooled, this will take a while and will be easier in a food mixer.
  5. Mix the other half of the egg whites (unbeaten) with the sugar and almond base to get a thick paste.
  6. Add the food colouring to the almond paste, this allows the colour to be mixed in well without overworking the meringue mix (as this can sometimes have disastrous consequences). Then add the violet flavouring.
  7. Add a little of the meringue to the almond paste with a flexible spatula and stir in with regular motion from the bottom towards the top and from the edges towards the centre of the bowl. Add the rest of the meringue in one go and mix in gently. This is a crucial step: it is the art of making macarons. The consistency of the macaron mix should be smooth, even and runny.
  8. Fill a piping bag with macaron mix and pipe small even discs of mix on to a tray covered with grease proof paper. Add crystallised petals to the top of half of the shells (you may want to choose the best half for this….heehee). Lightly tap the bottom of the tray on the work surface to remove any small air bubbles. Put the tray aside for 1 hour to allow the shells to dry, then bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes at 145ΒΊC (or fan assited oven 125ΒΊC).
  9. Immediately on taking the macaron shells out of the oven, slide the greaseproof paper on to a lightly dampened surface. This will stop them over cooking and make them easier to remove from the paper.
  10. The shells should be smooth and glossy with a good colour.

Filling:

  1. Whisk the double cream and vanilla extract in a bowl until it thickens sufficiently.
  2. Fill a piping bag and squeeze a good amount on to the bottom layer shells and the sandwich the upper layer on.

Parma violet macarons

Mamma’s fruit loaf

Ok, I don’t actually call herΒ Mamma, just Mum x But Mamma sounds so much better, don’t you think? heehee x

When I first started baking this time last year my Mum wrote down here recipe for Fruit loaf and it’s been pinned to my notice board ever since waiting patiently for me to get round to trying it out!! I’m not sure it is quite up to her standards yet, but I think I’ve done not bad for a first attempt and will play around and perfect it to my own tastes in the years to come x

Fruit loaf

Ingredients:

  • Β½llb Unsalted butter
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2 cups Sultanas
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon Bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups self raising flour

Fruit loaf

Method:

  1. Line a loaf tin with backing parchment.
  2. In a medium heavy pan add the butter, sugar, sultanas, water and bicarbonate of soda on a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted, then turn up the temperature to full and bring to the boil, then continue boiling for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool for a couple of hours.
  3. Beat the eggs and them to the mixture, add the flour and mix well.
  4. Transfer mixture to the loaf tin and place in the oven at 170Β°C for 1Β½ hours.

Fruit loaf

I like mine with lashings of butter and a pot of tea x

Thanks Mum xx πŸ™‚

How do you like yours?

Cinder toffee

Or Puff candy? Not totally sure what to call this honeycomb delight!! Cinder toffee always reminds me of the couple of years I lived in York when I was a newly wed!! There was an amazing sweet shop right by the entrance to York minster, that sold huge bags of cinder toffee and chocolate covered puff candy!! They became a regular treat for us at weekends xx

Cinder toffee

I’ve had to play around a bit to come up with a working recipe that tastes as good as the shop bought versions that I’m used too!! And I’m pretty happy with my final recipe, it’s very close in taste and texture to my memories!!

Cinder toffee

Ingredients:

  • 500g caster sugar
  • 225g golden syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 90ml water
  • 1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda

Cinder toffee

Method:
1)Β Grease a 20x30cm tin, then line the bottom and sides with bakingΒ parchment, making sure the parchment sides are at least 5cm above the sides of the tin. Grease the parchment with a little more butter or oil.
2)Β Add sugar, golden syrup, vanilla and water to a deep, heavy bottomed saucepan. Bring the mixture to the boil, but do not stir. Boil until it reaches the hard crack stage (153ΒΊC), about 10 minutes. During boiling, if there are any sugar crystals on the sides of the pan, brush the sides of the pan with a clean pastry brush dipped in water.
3)Β Remove from heat and working quickly, add the bicarbonate of soda, whisking to incorporate. The mixture will bubble when adding the bicarbonate of soda, so mind the hot toffee. Immediately pour into the prepared tin. Let cool and set completely before touching. Break into pieces and serve. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

Cinder toffee

Do any of you have a recipe to share with me?

Or know of any other ingredients that may be worth experimenting with to perfect my recipe?

I’d love to hear from you if you do xx

Cinder toffee

My macro view of Edinburgh

On Saturday I went to the first meeting of the Photography group that I joined πŸ™‚

We went for a gentle stroll along the Water of Leith from Slateford down to Stockbridge. 6 hours in all there and back (back was just on my own to get home) but it just flew by, which was good.

I decided early on to put my 90mm macro lens on and challenge myself to try and see things from a different perspective.

I think I manage to rise to my own challenge and I came away with a few images that I am happy with!! x

 

Like this shot of a cress like plant growing from the moss on the top of a wall, really pushing my Macro lens to it’s limits!

And I just love the texture of the stone in this final shot, it’s great!! I definitely need to get out with my camera more and get back in to the swing of it!! So I can get more shots like these!

So I’m already looking forward to the next meet up so I can get to know some of the group better and maybe stay at the pub with them all at the end next time……lol x