On Saturday morning we woke up, grabbed a ‘Black Coffee from ‘No fixed address‘ and headed off to the Yarra Valley! Woohoo! It had just occurred to me that after living in Melbourne for almost a year we’d hardly done any exploring around Victoria *gasp* (esp after our last couple of years filled with extensive travel)! At my new job I get to ogle at photos of Victoria’s most picturesque and beautiful spots all day long. I was inspired to get out of the city, so we headed out to Healesville in the Yarra Valley. We had no set agenda but a handful of suggestions from friends, one of which grew up in the area which helps! We stopped off at an old antique shop that was closing down and discovered everything was half price. Yes! Lets just say I dropped a pretty penny in there, that’s for sure. I can’t wait to use them all for my props.
We drove through Healesville and stopped for a little walk. Absolutely everywhere is just stunning at this time of year. All the deciduous trees are losing their colourful leaves and even the vineyards foliage had turned yellow. So many beautiful colours. We then stopped off at Innocent Bystander/Giant Steps winery for lunch. It was cold outside so we enjoyed a nice glass of red whilst waiting for our table. Reds are just so warming when it’s cold and I’m not a wine buff but I can vouch for the Giant Steps Shiraz. Nom. We ordered a couple of sourdough pizzas (one prosciutto & one pumpkin, feta and caremalized onion). They were generous and delicious. I can’t recommend this place enough!
After lunch we popped over to the White Rabbit brewery for where we ordered a nice dark ale and a Pipsqueak cider for me. “A Pipsqueak for the pipsqueak” as Seb put it. I’m 5ft. Enough said. We made our way home just as the sun was setting. I stopped off and got some beautiful sunset shots over the vineyards at Chandon. It was so pretty. I didn’t want to leave, but I’ll be back soon. Very soon.
Now, onto the recipe for this week. I’ve wanted to make these for AGES and I finally had a good excuse. Last weekend whilst Seb was in Tassie I had the girls over for an afternoon tea. I’d been planning it for a while and went a little overboard with the food. I made: stuffed crust pizza, spinach & ricotta filo parcels, nutella macarons, crustless itty bitty sandwiches & these wonderful little cakes… Madeleines. They’re made from 5 of the most simple ingredients but they are out of this world! I found the special pan at a baking store a few months ago and used a recipe out of a book my dear brother gave me for Christmas. It’s a beautiful and amazing book called “The Art of French Baking” by Ginette Mathiot. I want to make EVERYTHING but I decided to start with Madeleines. You definitely need a mixer of some sort because the whole success comes from ensuring the eggs are beaten with the sugar until it’s tripled in size, thick and light in colour. The amazing thing is that there’s no self-raising flour or any other raising agents so those eggs have to be whipped-up good and proper. Madeleines are deliciously buttery (not as naughty as biscuits), light and fluffy with a crispy outside. Like I said, such simple flavours and ingredients but incredible!
Is it time for morning tea yet?
125g butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
150g caster sugar
150g plain flour sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1. Preheat oven to 200ºC. If your pans aren’t non stick, grease and flour them slightly to prevent sticking.
2. Whisk eggs and sugar with an electric whisk for 5 minutes starting on speed 2-3, until pale and tripled in volume.
3. Slowly fold in flour and butter by hand. Once incorporated, add the vanilla and salt. Chill the batter for 2 hours before baking. Spoon into the moulds half full and bake for 8-10 minutes.