Sunday, 13 February 2011


* apologies for the lack of accents, I am working on this!

Yesterday I bought a cookery book. Not an unusual event, as I tend to buy a lot of cookery books; what I rarely do is use them! A friend once described me as 'a very good rustic cook'. There's nothing like being damned with faint praise!

Now John is a very nice man, and wouldn't ever say anything to knowingly upset anyone, so I had a discussion with Tim about what this phrase could mean. We concluded that John meant exactly what John said!

I don't tend to follow recipes exactly, but put my own twist on them. A different ingredient here or there can change the taste of a casserole completely. I then do variations on my variations and any semblance to the original recipe is no more. I am also the first the say that I don't do fiddly. Some of my friends spend a long time with desserts, getting them to look just right. I am happy if the taste is good.

Anyway, I am digressing...............

The cookery book is called Mad about Macarons by Jill Colonna. Jill, a native of Edinburgh, first came to live in France about 20 years ago and subsequently married and lives in France. In the book she writes that whilst she initially struggled with the language,  and to adjust to the culture, she set out to impress her husband's friends 'on a plate'.

Images taken from Jill's book
In her book she sets out to debunk the idea that macarons can only be made by the best patissiers, or even patissieres. The gerbet, or Parisian macaron, is a meringue based -confection (not to be confused with the coconut based macaroon). It was created in the 20th century by Pierre Desfontaines a cousin of Louis Laduree, the founder of Laduree . I visited one of their shops in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés district in 2009.

Tim had meetings in Paris over the Spring break, so I had the days to myself to explore. The shop wasn't hard to find, but the macarons were very expensive. I bought a small box, and ate them for lunch.

Jill describes herself as a macaronivore, and that after tasting her first macaron, it was 'love at first bite'. She has convinced me that macarons are simple to make at home, all that is required is that I get the technique right!

Her style of writing is easy to read and her anecdotes are interesting. The photographs are superb, and  the recipes clear and 'step by step'. There are recipes for a wide variety of macarons including pistachio and dark chocolate, cranachan and evenThai green curry!

I thoroughly recommend this book as a good read, and plan to buy a couple more copies as presents for friends.

I am going to try out some of her recipes when I am next in France.

Watch this space...........


  1. That looks like a delicious book. I hope you get to try it out when you are next in LPP, which is soon I think.
    I'mm looking forward to seeing the results - wish I could taste them, too !!

  2. When I've got my 'technique' sorted you could be in luck! :-)

  3. I'm not sure about Thai green curry? But it could make a good starter... served with tomato and red pepper sorbet!

  4. Tim - I'm not certain about the curry flavour either!