As I’m sure many of you know, in a couple of weeks it would have been Julia Child’s 100th birthday. I’ve seen quite a few tributes to her beginning to surface in the food blogging community and I can only imagine that they are going to increase throughout August.
I (probably quite embarrassingly) first heard of Julia Child through the movie Julie and Julia, and French cuisine had barely entered the peripherals of my awareness (apart from high butter content breakfast pastries).
As I have mentioned many times Julie and Julia is one of my favourite movies – along with basically anything else by Nora Ephron the woman was a genius. I instantly fell in love with the movie, the aptly chosen actresses and the amazing food styling. I loved the novel, with Julie the foul mouthed, overly dramatic nine-to-fiver (I know I’m not the only person who wishes they could share a cocktail or two with her) and the idolised Julia with the snippets of her inspirational quotes.
I quickly ran out and bought ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ flicked through it a couple of times and then set it to one side. The servantless American cook must scare a lot less easily than me!
I have tried a two of the recipes since then, and both have turned out spectacularly – even if I do say so myself. I have heard horror stories about the making of hollandaise but Julia’s method turned out perfectly first time (I still have several portions in my freezer) and the madeleines I featured earlier this year.
There is still something intimidating about that fleur-de-lis covered book sitting on that shelf. In memory of a woman who proved to us that you don’t need to be a teenager to know what you want to do with your life and make it happen (a fact that I find comforting on almost a daily basis), I am going to dedicate my blog to her for the month of August and hopefully get over my fear of french cooking in the process.
Easing myself in, I’ve revisited the madeleines I made earlier this year, making them to Julia’s recipe rather than a quick cupboard scramble to find flavourings.
You may have also noticed the two new badges on my side bar. Foodgazer is a great app for drooling over gorgeous food porn, I’ve lost hours there! and I have a wishlist an arm length long from dotcomgiftshop so many food photography props! They were also sweet enough to feature me in their cookie blogs post, which being a bit of a mega dork inflated my ego to nearly epic, unmanageable proportions (don’t worry I was quickly brought back down to earth thanks to my fantastic boyfriend, there’s nothing more grounding than having to deal with someone elses stinky socks!)
Ingredients (all at room temperature):
1 egg beaten
1/3 cup of sugar
½ cup plain flour
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
grated zest of quarter of a lemon
1-2 drops of lemon juice
Mix flour and sugar in a bowl with ¾ of the egg. Beat with a wooden spoon until it forms a heavy cream, if it’s very stiff add a little bit of the remaining egg, one drop at a time.
Leave to stand for 10 minutes.
Bring the butter to boil in a pan until it begins to brown, mix a tablespoon of butter with one and a half tablespoons of flour to make a paste and use this to paint the madeleine tin. Cool the rest of the butter in a cold water bath until is chilled but still liquid.
Mix the rest of the egg into the batter, followed by the lemon, zest vanilla and the butter.
Leave both the batter and the tin to cool for an hour in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 170, divide the batter into the tin, but don’t spread to fill the mould.
Bake for 13-15 minutes until golden.