Cennino Cennini and Madeleines ...

I've been working on my Madeleines recipe - a combination of wanting good ones to go with my DVD of Roland Petit: Proust [DVD Video] and have had too many bad ones recently.

There are no photos of them as this week-end they came out so wrong ... partly because I keep reading about that awful man in Austria (I know I shouldn't), it upsets me, and I can't cook when I'm upset.
And partly ... because of a few things I did.

For a start, I bought new silicone mini moulds, and it's going to take me a while to get the hang of them. I tend to prefer tin pans as the metal browns the biscuits nicely, but tin ones were not available. The man at Bon Marche convinced me that real chefs used silicone these days (true - I saw them in Tom Aikens' kitchen). But tin Gobel 15-1/2-by-5-Inch Mini Madeleine Pan are available on Amazon.com, so I'm going to ask a friend to bring them over for me.

The madeleines tasted fine - and were wolfed down - because I used freshly grated lemon rind and grated vanilla pods. My theory of cooking is that the better the ingredients, the better the taste.

Cennino Cennini also had many theories, but about painting. He recommended that painters (who worked in tempera in those days) should use the yolks of city eggs to bind the pigments when painting women, as those yolks were paler. The yolks of country eggs were too bright for the pale lovelies fashionable in Medieval Italy. On Sunday I made the mistake of using organic super-eco-friendly eggs from the Farmers' Market ... and, combined with the lemon rind, this led to bright yellow Madeleines.
So the moral of the story is ... Cennino Cennini: not just for painting.

Copyright © 2008 Dorothy King

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