Coconut lemon meringue pie, Indian carrot halwa, tiramisu or saffron kulfi – desserts were my mother’s specialty. She was a spectacular cook but it was her desserts that really made her popular amongst friends and family. Once a month she got the opportunity to display her skills when friends would get together for their regular games nights. Often potluck evenings, I have many fond memories of those nights.
They were boisterous gatherings, full of laughs, debates, arguments, accusations of cheating and of course plenty of eating. Guests usually brought a variety of delicious home cooked meals and being an international group, there was everything from pot pies, casseroles, stews to curries, bakes and stir-fries.
While men discussed the latest in sports or current affairs over tumblers of whiskey, the women spent a good deal of time complimenting each other and exchanging recipes. Once the small talk was over they gathered around the table set up for the game. Usually card games similar to poker were played and often high stakes were placed, but most important at that table, men and women became equal. Their roars of laughter and heated debates could be heard throughout the house.
With the adults busy playing their games, we kids were often left to our own devices, the eldest in charge to intervene if things got out of control. Our games were of make believe worlds, where we literally rearranged the bedroom furniture to suit our needs. Fortresses were made out of beds and pillows, sheets became our royal robes and we used whatever we found in closets to dress for the occasion.
Dinnertime brought the required interlude to bring us all together again. Assembling at the buffet-style table, the aromas of the food whet our appetites coaxing us to overeat. My mother’s presentation of the desserts was always the highlight of the evening. Having spent most of the day in the kitchen, she would present a few different types of treats. These were usually special requests from the previous games night. Mum always liked to please everyone.
Those family game nights were always a success with friends and family for years and continued for many years, moving with us from country to country. There are so many fond memories that come to mind when thinking of those nights – the games, victories and losses. Although my parents have now stopped with those game nights, they still love to entertain and my mother still is in charge of dessert.
The apple does not fall far from the tree as they say. In my own circle of friends I seem to have taken over my mother’s tradition and am usually the one who is put in charge of dessert. One little treat that cannot be missing from the dessert table are macarons. I always enjoy watching people play guessing games as to what flavor combination is tickling their taste buds. This combination really brings together an exquisite pairing together. Freeze dried raspberry powder provides a powerful and tangy flavor level for the shells, while rich white chocolate is combined with coconut for a smooth ganache.
Some will say macarons are outdated or overrated. For me I doubt they will ever go out of style. I love the fact that they are so wonderfully versatile and one can dress them up in a plethora of flavor combination. For me macarons are like my little playground where I can test, experiment and play around with flavor combinations that are whirling around in my head.
A bag of freeze dried raspberries was lying in my pantry since May, when Arthi of Soul Curry brought some for me to test. Tastewise, it’s powerful and intense on it’s own, but mixed into the macaron ingredients it subtly lends it’s raspberry tanginess throughout the shells. That’s what one tastes immediately when the first bite is taken. The next taste level takes you away to a tropical island far away. Coconut does that to me, transporting me to places where beaches and palm trees are plentiful. The coconut in the ganache is wonderfully sublime and pairs with the tartness of the raspberry incredibly.
So, if desserts is what you too are in charge of, make macarons, they are easier than what they are reputed to be and always add a touch of splendor.
If you have not already heard, there’s something new at Plate to Page. We’ve moved and have a new home. Come on over to www.platetopage.com and see what we’ve been up to. Not only are we shining with a new website but we also have a new logo to show-off. The girls and I have been busy behind the scenes with many tasks. Thanks to the men in our lives too who have also put in a few hours helping us on many levels. Plate to Page Tuscany is just a few weeks away and we are gearing up for that towards the end of October. Once again the workshop is sold out and we are looking forward to welcoming participants from around the globe. We’re also looking ahead to May 2012 when the third Plate to Page workshop will take place in London. We recently secured an amazing venue after much searching. More news to follow on that. So please make sure you subscribe to Plate to Page, follow us on Twitter and stay connected via our Facebook page for all the latest news!
Hope you all have a fantastic week and weekend. Catch you all next week!
More macaron ideas from WFLH:
|Raspberry Tea Macarons with Tahini Dark Chocolate Cream||Matcha Macarons with Passionfruit Curd||Rooibos Chocolate Chai and Sweet Spicy Chocolate Cinnamon Macarons|
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