Honey Madeleines

A French classic…with a twist!

This recipe takes around 15 mins to prepare and approx 10 mins to bake.

Ingredients (makes approx 16 madeleines)

  • 2 Large eggs
  • 100g Plain flour
  • 65g Caster sugar
  • 100g Margarine / butter
  • 25g Honey
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt
  • Flaked almonds for the tops
  • Icing sugar to serve

Prep work

  1. Set the oven to 190degC (fan).
  2. Brush the madeleine tin with butter, then cool the tin in the freezer for a couple of minutes. (After cooking, this layer of butter will make the madeleines easier to pop out of the tin, and will give them a lovely brown colouring.)
  3. Repeat with another layer of butter, and leave the tin in the freezer until ready to use.
  4. Melt the butter on the hob and put to one side to cool.

Making the mixture

  1. Whisk the eggs, vanilla, sugar and honey together, ideally using an electric whisk or mixer. After a few minutes the mixture will become voluminous, pale and will look like a mousse.
  2. Sift the flour into the mixture.  Add the salt and ground almonds.
  3. Fold the flour and almond mix into the mixture with a metal spoon.
  4. Add the melted butter, a little at a time. Continue to fold until there’s no longer any streaks of butter visible.

Bake

  1. Fill the madeleine tins about 3/4 full to allow space for rising.
  2. Sprinkle flaked almonds on top of each madeleine.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes, turning after 5 minutes.
  4. When the madeleines are golden and springy, they’re ready.
  5. Tip them out onto a cooling rack.
  6. When cool, dust with icing sugar to serve.

Madeleines conjure up images of sunshine and carefree days in my mind. I like to bake delicate cakes to mark the start of spring-time.

As an added bonus, these little beauties will keep for 4 or 5 days in a tupperware tub. That way, the joy can linger for just that little bit longer.

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I’m here

I love writing. I have always loved writing. Until I started blogging, I had given up practicing and honing this skill many years ago; abandoning it somewhere around the end of my school career. I never had an outlet, and I never had a reason to try.

Even though very few people read my blog posts, I still live in fear that they are inadequate, I am crippled by self doubt. I chose not to tell anyone that I was starting a blog (with the exception of my long suffering boyfriend, who has been forced to read countless drafts of posts and short stories while I stomp round the house moaning that my writing is crap or self indulgent… but that is another story, for another day).

Not telling anyone about my blog (and Instagram) was my way of keeping myself safe; not having to put my name to a article, not admitting to trying, and equally – not admitting to failing.

However, apparently this doesn’t mean you still can’t be trolled. Someone will always find out who you are. Trolls, of course, are offered the same level of anonymity as I am on the internet. They can say mean or hurtful things without consequence or ramification. They don’t have to admit to being insecure, they don’t have to admit to failing.

The messages I received from my troll made me feel uncomfortable, uncertain, and unleashed a deep sinking feeling in my stomach, which I could not shake for days at a time. It made me retreat. It put me off writing. It put me off trying.

But then I realised: that’s what they want, they want to break me. They want me to be miserable too.

I blocked the troll. I picked myself up. I had my little support system around me.

I took some time out to explore writing in other ways. I wrote a short story. It might be garbage, but I tried. I entered a writing competition. It might be the worst thing they’ve ever read, but I tried.

I’ve realised that I CAN tell people what I’m up to. And yes some will laugh, or think it’s lame. But I’m still trying. I’m still standing.

Other people may have similar fears whilst they’re learning how to play golf, or training to run a marathon. No one would think to laugh at them for trying, for learning. But still, they’re riddled with the same self doubt, fear of failure and the fear of ridicule. They’re common feelings. They’re all part of being human.

I have a long way to go, but I believe by standing up and trying, trying, trying, I’m taking the first step towards gaining confidence.

So, I’m here!

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Inspire

I recently attended a ring making workshop. The workshop was hosted by Aimi of SilverZoo (who makes stunning handmade silver jewellery) in the studio space of the stylish (but still quirky) Geek Bothy, which is in Kemnay.

Needless to say, I loved the class immensely. I savour the chance to make things and be creative. Getting to make something which is both practical and beautiful is even better.

There were 8 attendees at the workshop, which was perfect, as there were enough of us to start a little chit-chat, but not too many so as to slow down the class when we required to take turns at completing particular tasks. The ever patient Aimi kept us on the straight and narrow throughout, and even made us a wee cup of tea as we waited for everyone to arrive.

After choosing whether to make 2 wide rings, or 3 thinner ‘stacking rings’ (I went with the stacking ring option), we started off with some basic calculations in order to work out the length of silver wire needed for each ring. There were groans of “But I’m not good at maths” and gasps of “Can I use a calculator?” from around the room. However, as you’d expect from a studio full of competent women, we sailed through the ‘sums’ section and straight onto the measuring and cutting (being sure not to injure ourselves with the the snips).

We learnt to file, match the edges, and form the ring ready for soldering. The soldering element was one of the most satisfying parts of the process; fluxing the join then popping a small square of silver over it before using the blowtorch to evenly heat the ring and allow the silver flake to flood across the connection. This formed a secure joint. The ring was next dunked in cold water to cool it down, and then placed in a warm acid bath for a couple of minutes to return its shine.

The rings were roughly filed to remove any large chunks of flux, then prised over a metal mandrel and hit with a plastic hammer to give the ring a lovely even circular shape. After shaping came more filing, followed by sanding, and then eventually polishing.

We had the option to create textures on our rings using the various patterned hammer heads which Aimi had collected. I opted for one textured ring (using a hammer face with deep set diagonal lines), then left one round-wired ring and one square-wired ring as plain but polished. When worn together they look like sister rings; part of a set, but each unique.

The couple of hours I spent in the studio that Saturday has inspired me to spend more time making things, and ultimately learning new crafts and skills. The happy glow I walked out of the Geek Bothy with lasted all weekend. Even now, every time someone asks about my rings, I beam with pride, like a 7 year old showing off their latest masterpiece.

It’s never too late to be inspired.

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