Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Macaron gift box

So partly it was boredom and the other half I was anxious to do a macaron box. I know I know...doesn't she has anything better to do? well I love macaron, and what better thing than to do a happy macaron box! I got my inspiration from Sydney over the weekend, we went to this cute-retro-art gallery/store at Darlinghurst and the owner, Gary McEwan is a proud gay artist and he does so by exhibiting a lot of well I'm sure you know what I mean. Surprise-surprise, he used to have a shop at Acland St, St Kilda for 20 years! but moved to Sydney after all the bad chain stores capitalises good ol' Acland.

I actually got the box cover/card from that store and I just did my own drawings inside. It's meant to be a pop-out kinda card but yeah I was rushing it towards the end. Good news to come towards the end of next week about my macarons coming out into the Melbourne stratosphere! It's gonna be BIG and I'm still keeping it as a secret (I hope so, though a few people already know so by my twittering) but will post details as soon as it's confirmed! Will do more of these cards when I have the time.... :) happy macaron day!

My Dog Max

Max in technocolour by Elly

Monday, September 28, 2009

Eat Ladurée Macaron

Welcome to another round of macaron tasting from Paris, this time from none other than Ladurée. When I was in Paris I did went to Ladurée a handful of times but I've only tasted vanilla, caramel, chocolate and coffee so far, so...here we go, on an empty stomach with a cup of afternoon coffee.

Citron. A hard recipe to tackle since lemon filling to me visually should be like a yellow curd, but Ladurée decided on a lemon flavoured ganache instead and surely they want to create a strong contrast between the artificial yellow and white. Yes the lemon-tang is there, but so is the white-chocolate flavour (and somehow Ladurée's ganache has a slight coconut after-taste). I can feel shreds of either coconut or perhaps almond meal. Not particularly a favourite and I would avoid ordering this one.
Menthe Glaciale is mint. Again a mint flavoured ganache, but since I love mint candy and anything minty, this is a nice pair up. Great striking colour and definitely an attraction in itself.

Cassis violette is blackcurrant. Definitely sweeter and more bitter than raspberry or strawberry which gives sourness. Now it is not made purely of blackcurrant paste or jam since the texture is very dense and thick, so it is either mix with white chocolate or almond meal. I think it's both since there are hard granules in there, I could feel it between my teeth, and it's not the seeds I'm sure. I love this flavour, it's refreshing.

Ladurée l'eglisse or licorice flavour is veryyyy subtle, but beautifully combined with the ganache and I thought that it has slight coconut taste. Yes Aaron from a life worth eating is correct, this particular flavour is very special, it leaves a minty licorice after-taste and will also be in my flavour book. I felt like eating a charcoal though with the black colour, it was quite intimidating colour. Well done to this one!

With 50odd numbers left of macarons in my freezer, I am taking my time and definitely watching my waist too! All in moderation and you have to enjoy it.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Swirl of Colour

I am going ga-ga over this macaron clip! Previously from paris breakfast blog, I was curious to know how they create the trio of colours in one macaron. Wow. Crazy Cool big time!

Visit their website at http://www.fresson-chocolatier-patissier.fr

image 1 from amabilia.com
image 2 from blog-europeauto.com

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mini Recipe

Welcome to Mini Recipe by Lady Macaron which will be posted very very soon.
For now click here for great recipe by Duncan from Syrup and Tang.com using Italian Method which I highly recommend for anyone who has tried baking them and failed or wants a better recipe that yields strong and glowing shells.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pierre Hermé eat macaron

This afternoon, like most other days, we had our coffee and macaron break. This time though we decided to trial the macarons from Paris, notably from Pierre Hermé. Today's flavours are Pistache et Framboise, Menthe Fraiche and Rose. I had the pistachio and raspberry first, the pistachio flavour is definitely subtle, actually reminds me of green-coconut taste like this indonesian cake I used to eat when I was growing up (pandan-cake). Even my mom said so. The raspberry paste centre is not as sour as I would have thought, pretty sweet and again subtle (it could've have been a strawberry or cherry flavour-like). It blends well with the creamy pistachio, overall PH macarons are definitely not as 'strong' flavour as the blogs and comments in the web says.
Rose: quite strong rose-aroma in the first bite, a definite white chocolate based-ganache and somehow my sister tasted lychee in there. But I am still unsure, next tasting to confirm. Again it is a light macaron in term of flavour, good I think.
Menthe Fraiche: Mint creamy white-chocolate based again in the filling and in the shells. Fresh minty flavour meaning they use real mint leafs I'm sure. Mint leafs boiled in the cream and poured over the white chocolates (similar technique when I was learning how to make mint chocolate macarons with professional chef). Overal the cream sort of took over the mint at the final after-taste. It's pretty Comme Ci, Comme Ça (so-so).

Another 'shock-surprise' for me, his macarons are also très fragile when I cupped it with my fingers on the way to my mouth, it breaks easily, but slightly harder than Ladurée. This is why I am constantly irritated when people say that "They are not as hard, and domed-like like the ones I saw at Laurent, Brown's and Lindt" well that's because they never went to Paris and taste french macarons before and they certaintly don't use as much almond powder as they should. They are very fragile cookies, not wait 'cookies' is not a great enough description, they are 'fragile creatures' that needs special attention and care. et voilà, a quick lesson on macarons and how they are supposed to be (physically, texture-ly, flavour-wise and handled).

Sunday, September 13, 2009

From Paris...with sweet-love

My sixty (yes that's 6-0) french macarons from Ladurée and Pierre Hermé to last me...forever. I got every flavour of PH's excluding his foie-gras and truffle combination (since they cost 8euro each!!) and all 15 flavours of Ladurée permanent range. Although they got squished, all I can say is, I'm glad they arrived safely and I am really looking forward tasting them again...this time to be documented (and blogged). I hope to dream of macarons tonight...hope to wake up with a flat tummy though.

Ladurée 15-permanent flavours:
Chocolat - Chocolat amer (Bitter chocolate)- Vanille - Café - Pétales de Rose - Pistache - Framboise (Raspberry)- Cassis violette (blackcurrent violet)- Caramel au beurre salé (salted caramel)- Fruits Rouges (mixed-red fruits)- Fleur d’Oranger (orange blossom)- Réglisse (licorice)- Citron (lemon)

Pierre Hermé flavours:
Mogador (chocolate passionfruit) - Infiniment Caramel (caramel buttercream)- Chocolat - Rose (rose buttercream with raspberry centre)- Cassis (blackcurrant)- Menthe Fraîche (Mint) - Huile d'Olive & Vanille (Olive oil and vanilla) - Mandarine & Baies Roses (Mandarin ganache with rose scent) - Jasmine (jasmine ganache) - Pistache et Framboise (pistachio and raspberry centre) - Americano Pamplemousse (grapefruit buttercream)

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Scent of Jasmine

Jasmine Macaron would have to be my favorite macaron flavour at the moment. This is a newer version I did last week without the added lychee from a previous post. Everyone agrees that the lychee didn't really add anything special and the taste combined with the jasmine scent didn't blend nicely. This time though I use the new Essential-bought Lindt White Chocolate couverture specially for baking. The taste is definitely a masterpiece as my parents said, and it is here to stay...

By the way, I love the Essential store at Prahran market, I think it is the greatest thing in Melbourne for chefs, full-time bakers and the occassional-bakers alike. I drool everytime I see the Kitchen-Aid mixers on display. One day...One day...I kept saying to myself.

from bakerella at flickr.com. This is what I want! or perhaps what every baker wants...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Playing with strawberries

Yup I actually made homemade strawberry jam for this one. It was really easy and the fresh natural red color, oh so mesmerizing! A great start for Spring actually here in Melbourne. Too bad the shells were baked in too hot temperature as a result of fixing the oven as I just moved house and it takes a while to adjust the temperature. Not all ovens are made equal, and 150C in my old oven is way too cool for my new oven so I had to upped it to 170C. Turned out that was too hot, so the magic number is 165C. Gosh even a slight difference makes a whole lot of defect!

The pistachio filling has a nutty texture mixed in the cream, quite similar to Ladurée's pistache macaron. The first bite is a sweet-nutty flavor, then the second bite (small bites indeed) you're surprised with a citrussy strawberry flavor stuck in the centre.

The great Pierre Hermé's pistache cherie macaron, with a thick smooth layer of pistachio (and I'm guessing white chocolate, or else it would not be so smooth) and a dollop of what looks like a half of cherry stuck in the middle. What a great visual colour, with the dark cherry red against the soft lime green. He is just a genius.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Anyone for licorice?

So licorice is one of those snack where you either hate it or you love it. Most people I know hates the bitter-medicine-like taste of licorice. I on other hand, loves it, I craves it sometimes and it's a great snack. Yes we all know it has medicinal health benefits to your digestion and so on, but I doubt it with the ones on the sweet counter. Nevertheless it's one flavour I would like to tackle in the kitchen and see how the end result fair. I was pretty surprised many months ago to learn that Ladurée has licorice as one of their permanent flavor in the shop, called l'eglise, with chestnut also in the filling to saturate the bitter taste of licorice. With a pairing of dark black-brown macaron shells and brown-chestnut filling colour, Ladurée's l'eglise is known for it's mysterious flair. How does it fair in my kitchen? well since I already have a chestnut matcha green tea macaron already in my list of flavors, I thougth I should mix the licorice with caramel. The licorice took ages to melt so in the end after cutting it in tiny little bits, I gave up trying to melt the whole thing, but you know what, I kinda like the way the black bits were showing off from the macaron shells. So I guess my impatience does gives good rewards...sometimes.
My licorice-caramel macaron version. Definitely gotta change the brown-coloured shells for next time. Love the black bits popping out from the fillings.

Ladurée's l'eglise meaning licorice. Don't you just love the combination of that black and chestnut brown...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

almost-final-six flavors macaron

beautiful macarons
Originally uploaded by lady macaron
These are my almost-final-not-there-yet macaron flavors, I will want to add some classics like pure vanilla, just dark chocolate, (my famous date-caramel macaron (i ran out for these photoshoot) and one very citrussy flavor, either blueberry (most prob) or a mix of berries. Enjoy the photos from my flickr. Happy Tuesday.

Monday, September 7, 2009

le pistache fraise

pistache berry slices
Originally uploaded by lady macaron
Yes it's definitely a Spring flavour, thanks to a blogger friend. Two similar pistachio macaron, the orange with sprinkled pistachio powder and pistachio with almond macaron. Both fillings are equally the same, pistachio cream with strawberry jam paste centre. Starts with a sweet creamy taste and then the crunch of the pistachio nuts to an ending of citrussy strawberry afer-taste. Oh sweet and sour indeed!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I'm loving...PROVINCIAL

I can't believe it took me 8 years of living in Melbourne to find Provincial Home Living, a french-inspired home stores specializing in furniture, home accessories and simple cutlery. I love it. They have pink french toile fabrics just like the ones I slept with when I was in Paris. It's a nice peaceful world in there, the only downside...well almost all the accessories are made in...well you guess it right....China.

It did put me off at first, but you know what, they need to if they are making hundreds of thousands of pieces made-to-order. They have about ten stores throughout Melbourne and Victoria and it is definitely my favorite shop at the moment.

The furniture-look is country but not too shabby, it is very french with lacy carvings around the wood edges and dark oak colors to complement that mystical ambiance of french homes. The surfaces aren't shiny, yet are matt polished.

Beige tones with dark brown are paired, soft hazy blues and whites. Their natural soaps are great too, I bought a rose and a vanilla soap, the rose with little green specks of petals, visually appealing. They smelled very strong in my room, so I had to hide the rose in my side table bed.

Do visit their websites and spare a time to go there. Relax and enjoy a bit of french provincial.