A blade shines in the darkest of the nights
Little One is now almost 3 and 1/2 years old. What a difference a year makes! Now she is talking non-stop at times, singing to her heart content when she wakes up in the morning until she reaches school. Holding a conversation with her is quite amusing - the things she thinks and says. Just eavesdropping on her imaginary conversation with her dolls or teddy or toy phone is enough to make you double up with laughter.
Like every first time mother, I was very protective with her at the beginning. Luckily for me, I have a wonderful mother-in-law who reminds me now and then to let go and let my kid explore, be adventurous, basically let her grow and blossom. It was my mom-in-law who let her wash her first dishes together with her, her first stir-fry on wok standing on a chair next to a stove so proud of herself, taught her how to crack an egg properly, let her help to make an apple tart, showing her how to pick mushrooms, picking berries and apples with no worms in it, collecting walnuts etc. Watching my mom-in-law and my daughter doing things together makes me marvel at her ever patience. That really humbled me and made me resolved to be more patient as well.
Baking with kids isn't the easiest thing to do and lots of patience is required. Obviously you have to be prepared for messiness, flour and sugar all over the place, bits of egg shells in the batter etc. Only do this with them when you have the time at hand. Please note that I made the madeleines with Little One using Method 1.
Since my daughter can't really recognize numbers yet, I get her to participate by letting her scoop the flour & sugar, putting it the weighing scale bowl, letting her cut & weight the butter too (but some of it ended in her stomach instead). She's also getting good at zesting a lemon. I think the part she loves most is cracking the eggs and she did a very good job indeed (no egg shell bits in the batter, yay!).
Now that she is bigger and stronger, I was able to let her hold the hand-held electric whisk on her own and beat the batter all by herself. Any attempts on my part to help her is met with a scowl. LOL! Once the batter is ready, she buttered the little cups using a pastry brush.
As she is still a little bit too young to scoop and put the batter properly on a madeleine tray by herself without having batter all over the place, I took charge of a small spoonful of batter and let her drop it into the madeleine cups. Then in they went into the oven. This was so much fun! I look forward to another baking session with her.
The madeleines are very fluffy and moist on the inside with light crunchy coating on the outside when it is freshly out of the oven. They smells heavenly and taste likewise - just a light tint of lemon flavour and not too sweet. Delicious with tea. They still taste great the next day - it remains soft and moist on the inside, however the surface has lost its crunchy coating. Not only it is 100% better than those I bought from the store, it is also very easy and quick to whip up.
Both methods are good although I find the 2nd method is a little bit more compact than Method 1. Pierre, hubby, however didn't find any difference between the 2 methods. Well, if you ever try both methods, do drop me a line and let me know what you think.
Baking time of the above madeleines depends on how hot is your oven and how big is your madeleine mould. Initially I tried baking it at 15 minutes as per cooking instructions but found my 1st batch was way too brown at this duration and had to adjust the timings to fit my oven. I would suggest to first try it at 10 minutes, if your madeleines aren't golden brown, let it bake for another 2 minutes or so.
Carrots - so many kids hate them with a passion. Even my hubby won't touch that stuff no matter how deliciously it has been cooked or presented to him. I think I know why. When Little One started on her first solid food - guess what was the first most recommended food to introduce to a baby? Carrots. Since they are sweet, babies love them and as it is full of nutrients it's a baby's classic along with other infamous spinach. Unfortunately my baby didn't get to eat much either because of digestion issues. Oh well!
Thankfully there are a few ways to serve carrots to people who don't enjoy them so much. Carrot cake is one. Another one is Carottes Râpées (Grated Carrot Salad) that I'm going to introduce today. It is a very popular side French dish that my mom-in-law often prepares at home. It's available at many café and bistro menus, even at charcuteries and supermarkets where it is often sold in small plastic boxes ready to go. It's pretty easily done, requires very little time to prepare and the best of all: it's healthy, fresh and delicious. This is perfect for those who are trying to get kids or adults to eat carrot, because the lemon flavor is dominant over the carrot one. A ninja got to be sneaky
I'm so surprised by the taste and aroma of this simple salad. The fragrant lemon skin and juice dominates but doesn't overwhelm the sweet taste of the carrots, in fact the combination brings out the best of both fruit and vegetable. I'm not a big fan of carrots but this is really good. I went for a 2nd, 3rd and 4th helping without any guilt, as its so low in calories.
Home-grown lemon has very thick skin which gives this salad a fantastic aroma and taste. If you are using a lemon from supermarket (it's preferable to buy an organic one as the skin is non-treated), use only 1/3 of it if the lemon is very juicy.