Thursday, March 28, 2013


Madeleines are small cookies/cakes baked in a shape of a shell and originates from France. I've not been to France but have tasted Madeleines from various stores in the US. They are lovely cakes and goes well with tea or coffee. Not overly sweet, petite enough for me to indulge and not feel guilty.

I've been wanting to try my hands to bake Madeleines and finally got a chance when I bought a Madeleine cookie pan from TJ Maxx. After googling for a recipe, I went with the one I found on I didn't make any changes to the recipe and loved the result. I brought them to some very well traveled friends, and they commented that while the ones I made were very good and that they liked the texture, the ones in France are slightly fluffier than mine. Good to know, I will try to lighten it up the next time and see how they turn out. Till then, here's the Madeleine recipe:

*Makes 18-20 Madeleines


  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 2/3 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Tsp Grated Lemon Peel
  • 1 Pinch Salt
  • 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 10 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, Melted and Slightly Cooled
  • Powdered Sugar (Optional)
  • Extra Butter and Flour for greasing pan
Preheat oven to 375F. Generously butter and flour pan for large madeleines (about 3 x 1-1/4 Inches). 

Using an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar in a large bowl just to blend. Beat in vanilla, lemon peel and salt. Add flour, beat just until blended. Gradually add cooled melted butter in a steady stream, beating just until blended.

Spoon a little over 1 tbsp of batter into each indentation in pan (do not smoothen the batter). Bake until puffed and brown, about 12-15 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Gently remove from pan. Repeat process, buttering and flouring pan before each batch. 

Dust cooled cookies with optional powdered sugar.

Enjoy with a cuppa tea or coffee! 

June's Notes: Depending on your oven and the kind of pan you use, the bake time will slightly differ. I needed to place my non-stick madeleine pan (darker pan) on the highest level in my electric oven, so that the madeleines do not burn. For the first batch, it took me about 14-15 minutes. Baking the second batch, with the leftover batter (did not fill all the cavity with batter) and reusing the pan, 12-13 minutes bake time were sufficient. Anything more, you'll get burnt cookies!

Simply June 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

BAGNA CAUDA.........Love It!

We've been blessed to have friends from different parts of the world and generous to share their culture with us. Often, sharing their culture/tradition involves eating.... and the husband and I cannot say no to food! =)  A couple months ago, our Italian friends C&A invited us over for a traditional Italian meal; Bagna Cauda which originates from their town. According to C & A, their family always have it over winter and share the meal with family and friends. After I tried this delicious dip/meal, I was totally hooked!!

According to Wikipedia, Bagna Cauda is a warm dip typical of Piedmont, Italy and is served and consumed in a manner similar to fondue. The dip is made with garlic, anchovies, olive oil, butter and sometimes cream. Therefore, you must like fish or in this case anchovies to enjoy this dip. The dish is eaten by dipping raw, boiled or roasted vegetables and even bread. Traditional, the Bagna Cauda is placed in a big pan in the center of the table for communal sharing. Now, it is usually served in individual pots.

C & A was generous to haul 2 (or 3) large cans of anchovies back from Italy during their last trip. It took them several days to clean the salt cured anchovies and prepare some of the vegetables for dipping. We were greeted with a melange of steamed, boiled, and raw vegetables (raw beets, boiled cabbage, boiled potatoes, raw radish, steamed cauliflower, steamed asparagus, raw fennel, steamed carrots, boiled mini onions, etc) C prepared the quick yet delicious anchovy dip in front of us, so I had a first hand look of how it's being made. Super easy, just make sure you have some canned anchovies at home. Since I could not find salt cured anchovies, I used anchovies soaked in oil instead. The result is still as good.  It's definitely a good way to load up on a lot of vegetables. Some vegetables was surely an excellent match for the dip, some was just ok... but overall it's a personal preference thing as there's no one vegetable that I dislike after dipping it in the bagna cauda! Here's the recipe!

*Serves 1-2

  • 1 Small (2 Oz) Can Anchovies (in oil), Drained
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 4-5 Cloves Garlic, Grated
  • 2 Tbsp Heavy Cream
  • Dash of Ground Black Pepper, Optional
In a small pot, heat oil over medium heat. Then, add grated garlic and anchovies and let the mixture cook over medium low heat until the anchovies melt. Stir occasionally to help melt the anchovies. Finally, add in heavy cream and let the mixture warm up. Transfer bagna cauda to a small porcelain bowl and add some fresh cracked black pepper. Serve the warm dip with your favorite steamed or raw vegetables. Bread also goes well with this dip.

June's Notes: With the bagna cauda sauce I made, I decided to steam some asparagus till slightly tender and poached and egg. I poured about 2 tbsp of the bagna cause sauce over the asparagus and poached egg platter and loved the combination of the runny yolks and the bagna cauda sauce! 

To learn how to poach an egg, check out Alton Brown's tips

Simply June 
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