Rome France do as the Romans French do and the French bake! I had imagined I’d have a lot more time during my 10 days in France to do some relaxed baking but it didn’t turn out to be the case and the wealth of amazing baked goods everywhere you go does little to encourage you doing anything yourself. I did managed to make my first attempt at Madeleines and French Baguettes while I was there though, with some mixed results.
First up were Madeleines which I knew were fairly straightforward. I picked up a pack of random mixed fruit and nuts from the local shop to add a bit more flavour. My mum already had two traditionally shell shaped silicon trays in the house; they’ve the big advantage that the madeleines pop out of them really easily and don’t stick at all but I think metal trays would have resulted in a darker and more consistent colour which I would have prefered. I did manage to put them in a very authentic biscuit tin though and we munched through them over the next couple of days with a cuppa.
My attempts at French bread weren’t very successful to begin with, I would like to blame the fact the flour and yeast packets were all in French but it probably had more to do with the fact I started each attempt after a few drinks over dinner and I really wasn’t reading the instructions on the website I was using. It is actually a good site so no blame there: http://artisanbreadbaking.com/techniques/shaping_baguette/ (Paul Hollywood also has a recipe and method in How to Bake which I own but haven’t used in these attempts..)
I managed to produce some bread that was ok in time for our final morning in France but none of the batches were great. I decided to have another attempt the afternoon I got home from my holidays and these are the results: (I was still on French time so it counts)
As I mentioned in a previous post our office always brings back sweets when we’ve been on holidays and I like to incorporate the sweets in some baking. This year I picked up Kinder Chocolate which isn’t as unusual or local as I would have like but it is very popular and I knew what I was getting. I made some basic vanilla cupcakes and stirred in large pieces of Kinder.
They went down really well in the office with two of the girls saying they were the best thing I’ve ever made (which I actually took offense at as they are ridiculously easy to make!). There was also a pile of sweets to go with them but they were all gone very quickly…probably helped by the fact my desk is on the way to the tea room.
So that’s everything from this trip to France, I didn’t managed to find any horse burgers, horse meat is apparently easier to come across in the frozen food aisle of my local Tesco then it is in France. I avoided injuring myself when skiing but did burn my hand in the kitchen one evening so didn’t escape completely damage free. All in all my skiing improved a fair bit and I got some baking done so a very good holiday and a great way to kick off the year.
Hopefully only 49 more weeks til I’m out there again 🙂