Tuesday, 4 January 2011

I hate macaroons

Just marvel at how shit these are

A lot of you have been bothering me about macaroons - for months. How can you make them? What's the best recipe? The best method?

And my answer to you individually has always been: BUY THEM FROM A FUCKING SHOP. Because there some things that you ought to buy from a shop - turkish delight is one of them and the other one is macaroons. I'm sure there are other things. Croissants. Cheese. Gelatine.

The problem, people, is sugar. Sugar is hard to work with and although as a general rule I am quite disdainful of those who think that cooking is complicated, there are people who train for, like, days to become pastry chefs and chocolatiers. And when they come to make things like macaroons they have all the right kit - sugar thermometers and icing bags and silicon trays and special ovens and flavourings and all that shite that one doesn't neccessarily have in a domestic kitchen.

So I'd always say: buy them from a shop. They are a treat. They are not humble home-cooked fare - they are multi-flavoured, layered and coloured, designed for precious fashion gizmos and fizzy PR girls to send to each other and squeal over. They are not for the likes of you and me to knock up on a lazy afternoon.

But you're all such nags. Maybe you ought to give that up for January, yeah? Leave a poor pregnant girl alone. But despite making me hate you, the endless, endless pestering and nagging worked because like a chump I ordered some instant macaroon mix from some online shop and gave them a go. After all, not everyone, I reasoned, lives near a Laduree concession stand.

And it was, genuinely, the most boring and disappointing experience of my brief cooking career. Sometimes things that are a bit of a faff are worth making because they are, at the same time, fun and they work. But these things were both not fun to make and didn't work. I mean just look at them - cracked, discoloured, thin, wonky. Crap. CRAP!

Some of it was my fault (the whisk attachment on my food processor broke; I don't have an icing bag) but some of it was also the instant mix's fault (they didn't specify enough water but when I added more I added too much and it went sloppy; the food colourings I bought from the same online shop were cack and dull and actually came with a warning on the label that they might have "an adverse effect on attention and behaviour in children").

However the flavour was just excellent, as industrially-processed things containing Guar Gum, Silicon Dioxide, Lactic Acid Esters of Mono- and Di-glycerides of Fatty Acids usually are. So if you think you can do better than me, instant macaroon mix is available here.

Anyway, after that disaster I thought no more about the whole thing and wasn't even going to bother writing about them, until I had a nightmare last night about macaroons. It went on for ages - it really did. Don't tell me that in actual fact it only went on for three seconds or whatever, because I kept being woken up by my husband dithering about listening to the cricket and whenever I went back to sleep I'd still be dreaming about bloody macaroons. So it's a sign. I'm going to have to make them and master them. That, it seems, is my curse. Luckily I've found a couple of straightforward enough-looking recipes to have a go at. All I need is an icing bag. And some food colouring that isn't POISONOUS.

I hope your Christmas and New Year were okay and if you're back at work, I'm sorry. I don't even have a job and I'm depressed as hell that the holidays are over.

I was ill throughout all festivities. The highlight was when my husband got incredibly drunk on New Year and dived into the shallow end of a swimming pool and scraped his nose on the bottom and now he looks like he's been in a fight.

The next morning, (I was asleep at the time of the incident), I said: "Ha ha, you're such a dick" - and variations on that theme - throughout breakfast, until someone else said "My God - you could have broken your neck!"

I looked at my husband and felt more strongly than ever that my marriage is like an episode of The Inbetweeners - except that we are both that posh know-it-all one.

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