We begin again… again!

Hello!

So, starting this week I will be picking up on the blog series that I started last year. 2016 was and still is a year that has kept me extremely busy, hence the lack of activity on the blog side of things.

I will be kicking it all off with the 3rd installment of the Macaron Files, on Wednesday. If you missed the first 2, you can do a bit of catching up here…

The Macaron Files: Tip #1 and The Macaron Files: Tip #2

I also have a delicious recipe from Faeema, better known as Fay in The Maze that I’ve been keeping to myself for a while now for my Blogger Recipe Series.

There is so much left to share and I am happy to have you here with me!

 

Viveshni signature

What does Lindt have in store for us this Easter?

I’m not sure about you, but in our household Easter has become synonymous with the LINDT Easter Bunny and the jingle of the little bell around it’s neck as the kids (and adults) rip off that beautiful gold foil to get to the delicious milk chocolate inside.

The story behind the Lindt bunny is actually a cute one of someone just being an awesome dad. It was first created in 1952 by a LINDT Master Chocolatier after his son became mesmerised by a small bunny in their garden, which scampered off never to return.  In order to cheer up the distraught boy, the Master Chocolatier fashioned the first ever LINDT GOLD BUNNY from the finest LINDT milk chocolate, fastening a golden bell to his neck with a red ribbon to ensure he never got lost. I think that we can all thank that little boy and his dad for helping to bring these bunnies into our lives.

LINDT is giving us all the opportunity to be amazing parents, just like their Master Chocolatier was all those years ago, by setting up an Easter egg hunt in their Lindt Gold Bunny Gardens where kids can fill up their baskets with delicious Lindt treats. The recommended age group is 4 – 10 yrs old,so I suggest you get on your kids good side, so that they share some of their spoils.What makes it even better though is that it’s free!

Lindt-Easter-Key-Visual-Landscape small

Take note of the dates and information below so you don’t miss out.

Durban: 24 – 27 March 2016 (Easter Weekend)

  • 9am – 7pm on Thursday, 9am – 9pm on Friday and Saturday, 9am – 6pm on Sunday
  • Garden Court, Gateway Theatre of Shopping, No 1 Palm Boulevard, Umhlanga Ridge New Town Centre

 

Johannesburg: 19 – 21 March 2016

  • 9am – 8pm on Saturday and Monday, 9am – 6pm on Sunday
  • Mr Price 2 Court, Sandton City, Corner Rivonia Road and Sandton Drive, Sandton Centre

Cape Town: 19-21 March 2016

  • 9am – 7pm on Saturday and Monday. 9am – 5pm on Sunday
  • Col’Cacchio Court, Cavendish Square, 2nd Floor Dreyer Street, Claremont

But wait, there’s more! ( This part really makes me wish I lived in Joburg or Cape Town)

If you are one of the lucky people in Cape Town or Johannesburg, the LINDT Chocolate Studios are offering the chance for you to bring the magic of Easter alive with this fun and interactive class, exclusively brought to you by their passionate Lindt Master Chocolatiers. First mould your very own official Lindt GOLD BUNNY followed by artistically creating and decorating an indulgent chocolate garden all made with the finest Lindt Chocolate.

The class costs R200 and is approximately 1 hour long.

For more information on the class, visit www.chocolatestudio.co.za

I will definitely be at the Easter Egg Hunt with my girls in tow! Will you be there?

xxxViveshni

 

 

Honey, I’m Home!

After what I’m going to call a 6 month hiatus for this blog (and not just laziness and a lack of time), I’ve decided that it’s time to pull up my socks, put on my big girl pants etc. etc. and give it a big ol’ smooch to wake it from it’s slumber.

I’ve had time to think about what I want out of this blog and why I lost the motivation to write, and it turns out that it was that I had forgotten this was and is my blog. Madame Macaron’s little space on the  internet to post about whatever catches my fancy and not to conform to what I thought was expected.

So, there will still be all of my favourites like the Blogger Recipe Series and The Macaron Files included, but expect a few more  posts about places I’ve been, things that I’m doing and stuff that I love.

I hope that you enjoy all the new content, and if you do, that you take a minute to leave a comment and let me know.

So belated Happy New Year. Let’s do this 🙂

xxx Viveshni

 

Photo Credit: http://www.marklerouxphotography.co.za

 

Madame Macaron features in the August issue of Get It Magazine ( Umhlanga / Ballito )

2015 has been a year filled with wonderful experiences and opportunities and we are proud to be featured in the August issue of Get It Magazine (Umhlanga/Ballito ) .

A big thank you to Get It Mag and Monique De Villiers-Delport for an amazing piece.

You can read the online version of the article here or have a look at the digital version of the magazine HERE ( we’re on page 30-31 😉 )

Let us know what you think and be sure to enter the competition at the end of the article!

IMG_7335

Photo credit for featured image: Get It Mag (NC) and Mark Le Roux Photography

Blogger Recipe Series: {G.I Jane) Jane Kilian Shaw’s No- Bake Chocolate Chip Cream Bars

Jane is one of the most bad-ass chicks that I know, and there is no doubt as to why she is called GI Jane. With her Honours in Exercise Science she is no average trainer and is dedicated to helping women live a healthier and fitter life. Jane is however not just a fitness diva, she is also the creator of It’s A Bling Thing and Mielie Meisie, where women, and the men who love them, can buy jewellery, shoes and so much more, including Jane’s gorgeous, locally made clutches.

Jane shares all her fitness and health tips on her blog  GIJane.co.za but today she isn’t here prescribing burpees, shes’s sharing her favourite paleo recipe for No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cream Bars with us. I saw coconut, cinnamon and mini chocolate chips, so consider me sold!

logo

I have a very very sweet tooth but being in the industry that I am, and not wanting to gain weight, I’ve had to find healthier alternatives to some old faithfuls. I try to make paleo treats because they have less sugar and processed nasties in them so my go to girl is PaleOMG.

Here is a delish treat that is quick and easy to make.

DSC_0171-610x300

No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cream Bars Yields: 8-10 square bars

Prep Time: 8-10 hours (includes the refrigeration of coconut milk)

Chill Time: 1 hour

For the crust:
  • 5 dried dates, pitted
  • 1 cup almond butter
  • ¾ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ cup of Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips
For the toppings:
  • 1 (14 ounce) can of Thai Kitchen Full Fat Coconut Milk, refrigerated overnight
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Directions:
  • Place pitted dates in a food process and pulse until completely broken down.
  • Add almond butter and pulse until combined.
  • Then add shredded coconut, honey, vanilla extract and a pinch of salt and puree until well combined.
  • Place in a bowl and fold in chocolate chips
  • Push crust down into a loaf pan (9×5) and press down firmly as possible to keep the crust from falling apart.
  • Remove the cream from the can of coconut milk. That will be the hard coconut that remains at the top of the can, milk/water will be in the bottom and you can reuse that later for smoothies or milk in your coffee.
  • Place cream in a bowl, add honey and cinnamon and whip together with a fork until smooth
  • Add whipped topping on top of crust and smooth out throughout the pan
  • Place in freezer for 1+ hours until topping has slightly harden
  • Cut into 8-10 bars, depending on the size you would like and serve immediately.
  • Store in refrigerator.

*To make it easier to remove the bars, line a bread pan with parchment paper and pull the parchment paper out with the bars before cutting.

You can follow Jane on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

If you loved this recipe or have anything to add, please leave a comment. I would love to hear what you have to say.

xxx Viveshni

Photo credit: paleomg.com

The Macaron Files : Tip #2/20 – Know Your Almonds

 It’s week 2 in the Macaron Files Series and this week we’re talking Almonds

Almonds are the key ingredient when making macarons, so it follows that you need to know your almonds.

To start, almond flour, almond meal and ground almonds are all the same thing! So don’t be confused if you see them labelled differently in various stores.

IMG_8128

If you choose to buy almond flour
  • Make sure that the almonds are fresh, so  basically they haven’t been sitting on the shelf for too long, because not only will this lead to stale almonds, but also oiliness which is something that you definitely do not want
  • Before using your almond flour you will most likely need to sift it to get out any residual grainy bits. Now, while you can get away with about a tablespoon of slightly rough almond pieces in your mix, any excessively chunky pieces are going to tear not so pretty little hole in your shells or give you a very rough exterior instead of the smooth shiny shell that you are after.
  • If you find that your almonds are oily, the easiest way to rectify this is by running it through the food processor for a bit with some icing sugar. The icing sugar absorbs the oiliness and since it is a part of your recipe, you’re not adding in any foreign ingredients. You could also put the almond flour on a tray and into the oven for a few minutes, but personally I’ve had far too many instances of being distracted and ending up with toasted almond flour so I tend to stick to the icing sugar method.
If you choose you grind your own almonds
  • The first thing that you would need to do is blanch your raw almonds. So, if the skin is still on the almonds, follow the easy steps below.

IMG_8129

  • Now, the tricky party about making your own almond flour is that its very easy to take it a bit too far and create something closer to almond butter than almond flour. The key is to run the almonds through the food processor in short bursts rather than trying to get it done in one go. I use a coffee grinder because I find that I get a finer powder, although it does take a whole lot longer than a food processor because of the restriction on how much you can do at a time.
  • Again, after grinding sift the almond flour to remove and chunky bits.
How to store you almond flour

The best way to store your almond flour, whether you have bought it or ground it yourself, is in an airtight container, either in the fridge or the freezer. Alternately they will also be fine in a cool, dry place. The main thing is to keep them away from heat and humidity. A warm environment will cause the almonds to give off their oil and like I said previously, you don’t want oily almond flour.

If you missed the first post in this series you can find it here : Tip 1/20 – Know Your Oven and look out for the next tip next Wednesday where I talk about the pros and cons of using baking paper vs silicone baking mats.

There are also a few spots left in our Women’s Day Macaron Class on 1 August 2015, so you go here and book.

If you found this tip helpful or have anything to add, please leave a comment. I would love to hear what you have to say.

xxx Viveshni

Blogger Recipe Series: {Happiness Is} Fathima Kathrada’s Snickerdoodle Biscuits

Fathima is the creative brain behind HAPPINESS IS, which is not only her illustration and design business but also her blog where she shares her love of cats, coffee shops ,and her beautifully created illustrations.

I first met Fathima over coffee when she was awesome enough to review our MACARON OF THE MONTH BOX. Our next meeting was at the NATIONAL COOKIE SWAP where I tasted her SNICKERDOODLE BISCUITS and have been lusting after them ever since. Now you have to understand that to me any baked goods covered in cinnamon are basically heaven sent, and these beauties were no exception. So when she told me that she would be sharing her Snickerdoodle recipe I did about 100 backflips (on the inside of course) and very politely thanked her.

I personally cannot wait to try this recipe out myself and I see it possibly becoming a weekly treat in my home.

Happiness-is...-logo

These are probably my absolute favourite homemade biscuits. This recipe reminds me of when I was little, my mom used to make them a lot and I’ve always loved their cinnamony flavour. They’ve got a lovely warm, comforting kind of taste and are pretty quick and simple to make, so no hassle! Great to have with tea while snuggled up on a cool winter day

TKBlog-Brown-Butter-Snickerdoodles15

Snickerdoodle Biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 250g margarine
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 3ml cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp bicarb
  • pinch of salt

Sugar & Spice Mixture Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg

Method:

  • Sift together the dry ingredients.
  • Cream the margarine and sugar together. Add in the egg and beat well.
  • Add in the vanilla essence and the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  • Roll dough into small balls the size of a walnut and then roll in the sugar & spice mixture.
  • Place on a greased baking sheet and bake at 180ºC for 8 – 10 minutes. Allow to cool, and enjoy!

Thank you to Fathima for sharing! You can find out more about her and Happiness Is on her blog or follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Do you love this recipe as much as I do? Let me know if you try it and for an extra bit of yum, why not add a rolo to the centre of your dough before you bake it! ( You are welcome! )

xxx Viveshni

photo credit: northerncook.wordpress.com / tastykichen.com

The Macaron Files: Tip 1/20 – Know Your Oven

Being Madame Macaron I get asked a great many questions about what I do to get the perfect macarons, so I thought that it was about time for this series of posts.
Each week I will be sharing one of my tips for getting the   perfect macarons and hopefully helping you to identify any issues that you may be having with your batches. So, save them , print them, collect them ,and by the end of the series you should have the perfect macarons every time!

One of the most often overlooked factors in making macarons and also one of the most important is your oven. 

There are 3 main factors that will affect your macarons.

1.The Temperature Control
The heat settings on your average home ovens are not always 100% accurate and a few degrees of extra heat can mean the difference between lovely feet that raise your shells up or skirts that frill out around your shells leaving your macaron looking like a rather pretty and tasty doily.
The best way to ensure that your oven is running at the correct temperature is to buy an oven thermometer. If however you aren’t keen on doing that and have some time and patience, you can test your oven by baking a few shells at 20 degrees lower than the required temperature. You would then increase the temperature by 5 degrees for successive batches until your shells form feet and bake in the required time.

2. Even distribution of heat
I went through many a batch of macarons where one half of the tray would be perfectly done but the other half was under baked. I tried a different tray and even different baking paper until I realized that it was a heat distribution problem, where one half of my oven was running hotter than the other. This can also cause lopsided macarons, where only one side of the shell is rising and you’re left with more of a wedge than a lovely symmetrical disc.
The solution to this problem is pretty simple. Half way through the baking process open the oven ( yes you can do that with macarons ) and rotate the tray 180 degrees. This will ensure that all your shells are evenly baked.
3. Using more than 1 shelf at a time
There is one rule that you need to remember when it comes to using more than 1 shelf in your oven and it is that hot air rises and cold air sinks. So the bottom shelf in your oven is always going to be a little cooler than the top and therefore your macarons will need a little extra time than those on the middle shelf. As always though, not every oven is the same and you will need to get a feel for how much longer your shells on the bottom shelf need to stay in for.
Please let me know if this tip helped and if you have any that you’d like to add.

xxx Viveshni