A day cooking with Scarlett

I hope that, when I’m even older and creakier, my daughters will continue their love of cooking. Right now at 6 and 8 they love cooking with Papa; we’ll see if it continues, but it’s a good start.

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First things first, write out your prep list. This is very important – work out what needs to be done first and so on. No point working on the meringues first since they take 4 or 5 hours to dry out in the oven so we put them in last, otherwise the oven’s out of use while they do their stuff.

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We made the madeleines first, the full recipe – 9 eggs, 500g sugar mixed to the ribbon stage, 400g of softened butter, 400g flour, baking powder, the lot. We made dozens and dozens of them in the end.

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Three bags full in fact, as it were.

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Best part of baking is, of course, licking the bowl clean afterwards.

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Then we made brioches. Two of them, one smooth and one gnarly – someone in the house likes chunky crusts.

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Not me, I like a smooth crust.

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Then we made quiche. Two in fact.

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One with onions and bacon lardons, the second with tuna and sun-dried tomatoes.

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And Tartiflette and rosemary and thyme ciabbata.

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Tartiflette is very popular in our house, so we made two of them.

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And then we got to the meringues with the egg whites left over from making a dozen crème brulées – which I forgot to photograph, it’s true. But hey, they’re all the same. Ours were vanilla flavoured today as the lavender plants’ flowers are over now.

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The little meringues piped ready to go into the oven to dry. The little ‘blobs’ on the sheet next to the meringues are drops of mixture under the baking paper to hold it down while I pipe the meringues themselves.

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Some of the larger ones at the top of the oven, and two giant ones lurking at the bottom. When you’re 8 years old, the bigger the meringue the better.

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Unlike commercial ovens, my domestic oven doesn’t have vents at the top you can open to let out the moist air, so I prop the door open slightly with a teatowel. Works fine.

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The finished baby meringues. They won’t last long in our house.

To round out the day we made 4 litres of yoghurt – 4 litres of milk, 4 small tubs of activated yoghurt, leave it in the warm oven (50°C) overnight. One litre gets strawberry syrup, one litre gets chocolate powder, and the final two litres are strained down to just one litre of thick Greek-style yoghurt to eat with honey for breakfast.

A good haul for the day in the end: 2 quiches, a few dozen madeleines, 12 crème brulées, half a litre of ice cream, two tartiflettes, two brioches, a ciabatta and 4 litres of yoghurt. I think that’s everything.

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