Buckwheat Lemony Madeleines

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Lemony Madeleines

I realised the other day, that my mother would have been 70 years old just a couple of weeks ago. Scary thought! Through the reeds and willows of the lake, I swear I heard her laugh at the idea. “Me? 70? Haha… I’ll always be young!” Yes, I could see the irony as each year and now the twentieth anniversary since she checked out, brings us closer at last… Or at least in this weird binding of two generations, bitter-sweet and salt on the wound that will make you cry first, then in time will heal… Somewhat, somehow. I could hear that laughter again through the phragmites, but this time, I am pretty sure it was a little grebe, letting me know that he knew I was there…

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Lough Sheelin pier

“You can’t have a Birthday without cake” I thought, no matter if the birthday girl is here or not to blow the candles. I chose to make some Madeleines, easy to share and a nice little homage I guess, as these little bundles of joy were a staple in our house, always in our goody bag when we had finished school…

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Disappearing Pier

When I got home, I had a rummage through the various trays, pots and pans in the big drawer by the counter, and found the Madeleine tray I was looking for… A bit of dusting was in order…

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Madeleine tray

You’ll Need:

  • 250g of Buckwheat flour
  • 250g of organic sugar
  • 250g of butter
  • 4 large “happy eggs”
  • 2 organic lemons, zest and juice
  • a little splash of vanilla extract

How to?

Ok, so we have two possibilities here; you can either mix eggs and sugar first to make them fluffy and creamy, then the flour and melted butter, or, and since I am using buckwheat flour, you can cream it, which is beating the sugar and the butter first, then eggs and flour. The latter makes them a little more spongy. I went with the first technique, but they will taste and feel better warm. Zest the two lemons and add their juice to the mix, with a little splash of vanilla extract. Butter the dish, and pour the Madeleine mix in each of the little alcove ( I used a tbsp, you’ll need steady hands). Bake for 15 minutes at 150c.

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Buckwheat Madeleines and lemon zest

It will be dark soon, time to go home…

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Lough Sheelin
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Lemony Madeleines

Keep Well and Eat Happy

Slán Tamall

Franck

 

Aged Gouda and Pumpkin squash Tubetti Rigati Farro Pasta

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Aged Gouda and Pumpkin squash

As storm Ophelia approaches the shores of Ireland, scheduled to hit us on Monday, exactly 30 years to the day after that “hurricane” ( it was in fact two storms that joined forces) unpredictably hit Brittany and the south of England with disastrous scenes in its path, I decided to post an October recipe, full of warmth and autumnal colours… I’ll tell that story another day…

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Damson “Tarte Tatin” Style

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Damson Plum Tatin

Autumn fell on the isle of Ireland like a North Korean missile in the Sea of Japan… Quickly and without warning. No seriously, it was great, a relieve from the horrible muggy and still typical ( tropical?) August that has me as happy and calm as Martin Sheen in a Vietnamese hotel room. The skies were bright again, I could see the end of the lake again, I could breathe…

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Mackerel and Mustard Sauce

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A house by the Golfe – ( Original pic by Jacques Ducoin).

We left the City of Vannes for a more bucolic life by the shores of the Golfe of Morbihan, “The little sea”… Séné wasn’t quite a town, even if on Irish standards, it would definitely be one. It was not a village either, as it had a town hall, an elected Mayor with an office in his Mairie, a hotel, a few bars and a couple of restaurants. Séné was what we called a Borough, and its district was quite vast; known as a “commune”, it was made of a myriad of small villages and hamlets; Port Anna, Mousterian, Montsarrac, Cressignan, Falguérec, Brouhel… We built our house in the village of Kerarden, nearly in front of the chapel of the same name, celebrating mass every other week. A quiet life, with a beautiful view from my bedroom window!

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Potato and Boyne Valley Bán Gratin

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Potato and Boyne Valley Bán Gratin

Don’t you just love it? You are at work, you have a recipe in mind, you know that you have all the ingredients at home and in this case it was a head of broccoli, I needed to use for a simple but tasty gratin. I also wanted to use Michael Finnegan’s new cheese from Slane in County Meath called Boyne Valley Bán; a goat’s cheese tomme he has been experimenting for a while… I love it! Anyhow, I made it back home to the house at 6:30pm, only to realise that the broccoli in question had turned completely yellow, it was actually warm, the whole top shelf of the fridge had been bathed by the light bulb of the once cold appliance. I thought: ” Great! What now? A new fridge?”. The culprit was in fact one of my cats, “Shaky Leo”, a charming young black panther who suffers from “C.H” ( Cerebellar Hypoplasia) which causes him a lack of full control of his movements and some great “Free Styling” moves… In one of his “Parcour”, my little friend ended up opening the fridge slightly… All day… Good bye broccoli…

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Licorice and Lima Bean Stew

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Lima Bean stew, with licorice stick and garlic croutons…

As I mentioned in my latest drama/ action pumped story Duck or Die ( that’s right, you have to go and read it now… Mwah-ha-ha…) my mother used to make – to the delight of my father – a wonderful haricot bean and beef stew. Here is a vegetarian dish I have created, based on the original, packed with summer flavours and memories. There are the beans, of course, and I used dried Lima beans from my Italian friend Roberto who runs the wonderful organic Mariangela Prunotto farm in Alba, Italy. I also found some licorice sticks in the health food shop the other day; when we were kids we used to buy these aniseed roots from the local pharmacy, and munch on them old day like cowboys on under a hot sun… Talk about a funny trend! I also added fresh local organic tomatoes, my mother was crazy about them at this time of year! I’d better get on with that recipe, which I realised is also vegan… What do you know?

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Bretonised Aubergines, Roasted Butternut and Red Lentils Stack

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Buckwheat and aubergine stack, with roasted butternut squash and red lentils…

I am not very fond of summer in Ireland, not very fond of summer in general, that is just the way I am, don’t judge me or call me a miserable bastard. Since I have been leaving here, we’ve had two great summers; 1995 and 2006. The legend says that as the heat waves hugged and cuddled the land of Hibernia, someone, somewhere, on the Island said:” no, the summer is great, but it’s almost too hot”. A divine intervention then punished that poor soul by ruining  it for everybody else… How dare he or she said that?!? For the record your honor, it wasn’t me; I know too well how not to aggravate the natives, refraining from expressing my dislike for July and August. Last week, I decided to be more positive, tackling my cabin fever with long walks, five, nine kilometers, enjoying the wonderful nature of the midlands, butterfly hunting with my camera and rediscovering long lost smells from childhood summers. No saline breeze, no redshanks piping, just a dead dry heat with clear blue skies, thousands of flies and a few remaining chiffchaffs and swallows already thinking of heading back to the African continent…

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