Sunday, July 17, 2011

What I've Been Up To

I would first and foremost like to apologize for my long hiatus which I am about to break.  A lot has gone on during my absence that I am very excited to share:

Say hello to Nikita Victoria Belykh, my baby sister, born June 09, 2011. ! Ever since she came into our family, life had not been the same.  She is truly the most precious and innocent little gift.

Right after exams, I was lucky enough to have my parents fulfill my childhood dream to visit Paris !!! I've been planning for months for this trip and surely had the time of my life once my dad and I arrived.  And oh my god, the food was simply heavenly.   My dad and I had determined the smell by which we define Paris - an overwhelmingly mindsweepingly amazing mix of cigarette smoke, Arabica coffee, and yeast risen breads and pastries from the multitude of boulangeries entering your nostrils early in the morning. Crusty ficelles and adorable pains sucrés dans la vitrine, people digging into their charming salades composés with their perfectly poached eggs on top, tantilizing baguettes farcies layed out like eyecandy on every block, the whip of galettes being prepared before your very own eyes... Ah, c'était une expérience inoubliable

I came back to see the world in different colours, bearing the wish that I will one day live in Paris and bake with their irresistable high-quality Echiré butter, have fresh, light, featherweight croissants every morning, stock up on salted butter caramels and read in the comfort of the Luxembourg gardens on my free afternoons with one--no, two, PH's macarons in hand.  Yes, yes, that is how I envision my ideal future.

I have done a lot of baking since I had returned, some being inspirations from France while other creations were meant for accompaniment to celebrations such as Nikita's first birthday.  I baked a simple Genoise Cake, layered it between Whipped cream frosting and layered on Buttercream Frosting on the sides and top of the cake. As for the mini madeleines, here is the simple, fail-proof recipe for those that are interested:

Mini Matcha Madeleines
Makes 75-85 mini madeleines

120g cake flour, sifted
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
3-4 tsp matcha powder
Pinch salt
130g sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
160g butter, melted and slightly cooled

1. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, matcha powder and salt in a medium bowl. 
2. In a stand or hand-held mixer, beat the sugar and eggs for several minutes until they become thick, pale, and fully,and thick ribbons form when the beaters are lifted from the mixture. 
3. Fold the flour mixture into the sugar and egg mixture.  Make as many folds as necessary to evenly distribute the flour and ensure that there are no air pockets present.  (The batter should deflate a bit).
4. Fold in the butter quickly yet thoroughly.
5. Cover with plastic wrap and set to cool in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours, or even better, overnight. This step is very important, as it will produce the characteristic madeleine bump.
6. Lightly grease the mini madeleine tins and preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).  Fill 3/4 of each madeleine tin with the mixture and bake for 5-7 minutes, watching the madeleines carefully.  They should be golden and a skewer inserted into each madeleine should come out clean.

1 comment:

  1. I have missed you! Welcome back. :)

    What a sweet baby sister you have. I'm so happy for you and your family.

    And you got to go to Paris!!! That is marvelous. Your pictures are gorgeous. Follow your dream of living there and baking. Oh, if only I could go back 12 or 13 years....