cherry & amaretto pavlovas

mini cherry & amaretto pavlovas

I tossed & turned last night, somewhere half way between sleep & wake. Obsessing & dreaming about how I was going to enlighten you with my pavlovas & convey their magic through the use of the written word. I was brilliant, well spoken, & had a delicious vocabulary to impress you with. You would have been impressed with my ability to articulate their beauty in a seamless fashion.

Now?

I can’t remember a damn word.

It would appear as if I’m only competent when I sleep. & then it becomes a question of “am I actually competent, or does my subconscious just think I am?”

I suppose we will never know.

It’s a pavlova. By all rights, it really shouldn’t be all that interesting. I mean, it’s meringue. I never understood what the fuss was with meringues. They’re basically just crunchy, chewy sugar. & yet…. in pastry shops they always look so exquisite. Big, cloud like formations that come in gorgeous colours. I wonder whoever thought them up.

I’ve also come to understand that pavlovas were originally made for a Russian ballerina by the name of Anna Pavlova. Would you buy it if I said that my little pavlovas look like the frilly skirts that ballerinas wear?  Maybe that’s trying to stretch it a bit too far.

I did try to do the dessert justice though… A delicate balance between black cherries & a sweet amaretto cream.

They are what they are & I like them as is. Try ’em & let me know what you think. Continue reading

boozing it up with lime, rum & chocolate!

lime, rum & chocolate macarons

For months now, every time I post up a macaron recipe, I get a private message from my mum saying how I better make her macarons when she comes for a visit.

I’m talking about a woman so obsessed with the little cookies that she used to occasionally frequent a bakery in Paris that was renowned for its macarons & pay €4 for a single cookie!

….talk about setting the bar high.

Suffice to say, I wasn’t about to say “no” to her request. It just so happened that I’d been dying to try a new flavour combination & I had been holding off for her arrival so as not to overwhelm everyone with my fascination with constantly making these french (italian) cookies.

Want to hear about the flavour I’ve been dreaming about?

Chocolate. Lime. Rum!

Tell me that you aren’t drooling….

Actually, maybe you haven’t heard of the combination before so you don’t know what the appropriate level of excitement is here. Let me help you with that. The correct level of enthusiasm would be a “HELL YES!!!!”

I’m telling you, chocolate & limeexcellent. Lime & rum, excellent. Rum & chocolate, excellent. You just can’t go wrong with it. Now wrap that all up into a single macaron which is a breathtakingly good cookie all on its own, you just have pure magic.

I’m not ashamed to say that my mum was over the moon about them. I think she even managed to disappear 7 of them in a row without blinking. I’d call that a success.

I even got an “these are excellent” from Mel… & he’s not an easy person to please when it comes to food.

So there you have it. I made excellent macarons with a flavour combination that was just killer. Do it, do it now!

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chocolate lady fingers

gluten-free chocolate lady fingers, perfect for making an italian tiramisu

These cookies are supposedly meant to resemble a lady’s finger, hence the name…. Whilst I can admit that I, myself, have rather short & thick little fingers, they resemble nothing like the cookie.

Maybe that’s me being naive though.

I also personally believe, that these cookies don’t make such of a statement on their own. Sure, they are flavorful & nice. Simple & easy to eat five or six without really thinking about it, but I’d never sit & crave one. You know what I mean?

There would never be a moment in my life where I would say “Oh, I could REALLY go for a lady finger right about now.” It just ain’t happening.

I can however sit down & say “oh my god, I HAVE to have tiramisu right this very moment or else I’ll just burst into flames & melt!” (a touch dramatic, I know)…. & then THAT statement would lead me to saying “you know what, if I’m going to make a tiramisu, I’m going to have to make lady fingers.”

See how that all works out? One thing always leads to another.

That’s what happened in this instance. I desperately wanted tiramisu, (I also needed to make it for work) & so I needed to whip up a batch of lady fingers in order to fulfill my deepest desire at that moment. Going one step further, I decided to make my little gems chocolate flavored, I thought it might just add an extra little “UMPH!” to my finished dessert.

Ok, so make these, & then immediately use them to make my tiramisu recipe. Do it. Do it now!

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strawberry mint macarons

strawberry mint macarons

So far, all the people that I’ve become acquainted with on the island have all been “temporary” friends. I’m not saying this in any way to suggest that I’d like to terminate the friendship or I don’t foresee is lasting, it’s more a testament to the fact that all of them are only on the island for a very limited amount of time before they head to their new (or old) destinations.

Lucky for me though, I was introduced to a girl who wandered over this way to attend university on the island a few some years ago… and just never left! She’s here by choice because she loves it!

Nice fit huh?

Not only that, but she’s into baking. AAAAaaaaaand…. the first time I tried making macarons, it just so happened she was tucked away in her kitchen giving them a whirl for the first time too!

Talk about coincidences.

Looks like I’ve made myself a new friend.

Wait! There’s more! My new friend & I had a baking-date yesterday to see if our luck with macarons was luck, or if we’d actually figured out how to make them. We even tried a few techniques & got creative with the flavor choices.

….best macarons I’ve made so far. Maybe it’s because two heads are better than one & there was a talented woman standing next to me who had just as much enthusiasm for the small, Italian cookies as I did.

Any way, between us we came up with the wonderful combination of flavoring our macarons with strawberries & mint… & they were the chewiest, most delicious little treats. She sent me home with well over half & I’m a little ashamed to say that Mel & I have already polished off the lot.

There you have it. Friends = successful baking. All is right in the world

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