Madeleines

I was having a Eurovision party and I allocated each country performing a number and drew my guests a country at random. I drew France which was admittedly a much simpler option than say Moldova or Armenia of which I know very little of the food culture. I made some Madeleines which I have made many times before as they’re just so pretty and easy to pass around for a little nibble. The recipe is in Rachel Khoo’s book ‘Little Paris Kitchen’ and I believe it’s a good one as the madeleines have got their signature bump. This forms by turning the oven off mid-cooking for one minute and lowering the temperature for the rest of the cooking time. Amazingly, these madeleines were not the only success of the night. The UK actually came second in the Eurovision Song Contest which was a great surprise to us all. I’ve got to say that I think it was thoroughly deserved by Sam Ryder and his brilliant song Space Man.

Makes about 30 – 36

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 130g sugar
  • 200g plain flour (+ extra to flour the tin)
  • 10g baking powder
  • 1 lemon
  • 20g honey
  • 60 ml milk
  • 200g butter (+ extra to butter the tin)

Method

1.) Melt the 200g butter in the microwave on blasts of 10 seconds until all done. Mix it with the milk and honey.

2.) Measure out the flour and baking powder into one large bowl. Zest the lemon and add the lemon zest to this bowl.

3.) Crack the eggs into another bowl and add the sugar. Whisk until light and frothy. Add the flour mixture in batches and fold into the eggs until all is incorporated.

4.) Cover the bowl and refrigerate for a few hours.

5.) When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 190 degrees C.

6.) Melt some butter and brush the madeleine tin with it. Sprinkle over some flour, Shake the tin, best to do this over a bin or a sink. Tap the end to spread the flour evenly.

7.) Add a tbsp of the mixture to each shell.

8.) Bake for 5 minutes then turn off the oven for 1 minute.

9.) Turn the oven back on again but at 160 degrees C and bake for 5 more minutes.

10.) Take out the tin, place on a cooling rack and let cool before attempting to lift out the tin.

Pretzels

I wanted a few bites from a few different countries for my Eurovision party (lets not talk about the UK’s result) and decided to make some tasty German pretzels with a beer cheese dip. I found the pretzel recipe on the blog ‘Sally’s Baking Addiction’ but I halved it as the pretzels were part of a melee of things. Pretzels are a nice bread choice to make as you only need to let the dough rest for 10 minutes before you can crack on with making them. I didn’t sprinkle them with salt – I’ve never been too keen on the crunching into large salt rocks but feel free to do so before you bake.

Makes 10

Ingredients

  • 180ml tepid water
  • 5g yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp soft butter
  • 250g plain flour
  • 120g baking soda
  • 2,000ml water (or how much fits into your pan)

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C

2.) Measure out the flour into a large bowl and add the salt and sugar. Mix around with a fork as you don’t want the yeast to hit the salt.

3.) Sprinkle the yeast into the tepid water and let it brew for 10 minutes.

4.) Pour the yeasty water into the flour and mix with your hand to form a ball. Tip out onto the counter top and knead for about 7 minutes until the dough is smooth.

5.) Let it sit for 10 minutes

6.) Boil the 2000ml of water and once boiling, add the baking soda. Line a baking tray.

7.) Cut the dough into 10 equal pieces

8.) Roll each piece into a rope (probably a bit longer and thinner than mine if you want really neat pretzels).

9.) Shape the dough into pretzels.

10.) Add the pretzels to the baking soda bath – I did two at a time but you can judge based on the size of your pan. Leave for 15 seconds, flip over and leave for 15 more. Then remove to a baking tray with a slotted spoon. (This step gives the distinctive pretzel taste).

11.) Once all the pretzels have been dunked in the baking soda mix (they look a bit puffy after this) and are all on the baking tray, bake for 12 – 15 minutes until golden brown.