My posts have been rather disappointingly sparse since the year started. At first I had thought it was just because I was tired, or my grandmother’s death had thrown me off my equilibrium, but today I think I realized something different. Or maybe it’s something I’ve been silently aware of for a while; a ghost showing itself to me with a clarity I can no longer deny. All I know is I feel sad, but mostly angry. Mostly at myself for having this stupid issue at all.
Disclaimer: If you’re not up to listening to me “rant”, jump on down to the recipe.
When I started this blogging journey, I was very much aware that I was going at it solo. None in the family were particularly supportive- I mean my brothers simply didn’t care- and in the beginning my parents especially were very vocal about their thoughts. They could not grasp the concept of blogging about things you make in the kitchen, and often they would try to talk to me about their own ideas of how I could “make better use of my time”. Typical of parents, of course, but I was too in love with the idea of blogging to let them dissuade me.
Through all those days of their ‘nothing will come of what you’re doing’, I simply kept telling myself: ‘It’s okay. People tend to react negatively to things they are unfamiliar with. Convince them that there’s worth in what you’re doing!’ I convinced myself that even though no one else thought much of what I was doing, it didn’t matter as long as I knew this is something I really like to do.
But one day I wasn’t so sure anymore.
Maybe it’s a case of their lack of enthusiasm and interest in this whole thing finally finding a way into my head. Lately I haven’t been feeling like myself. I don’t feel the same drive I used to; don’t feel the same desires to create things in the kitchen. It used to be that I would wake up so early on a Sunday morning super energetic, raring to finish three or four recipes in a row. I could stay in the kitchen all day if I had to. I was excited about photographing my creations, of filming video tutorials even if it was sooooo hard to do so by my lonesome in a small kitchen. I did not mind any of those things in the least.
But lately even making banana bread starts with a battle of wills inside my head. It’s dragging myself out of bed early in the morning, my feet falling heavily down the stairs, asking myself, ‘Remind me again why I am doing this at 6 in the morning on a Sunday?’ As soon as I grab the bowl though a teeny tiny semblance of my old enthusiasm creeps out, showing through the usual care I take to ensure the recipe is a success. At least that’s still there.
It makes me sad that it seems like I’ve lost my way somehow. I can’t even remember the reason I started this blog anymore. What was my purpose again? Was I all this time as disillusioned as my parents were pointing out, wasting my time for nothing? Or maybe, just maybe, am I simply tired of being “alone” in this? Am I just hurting that no one seems to care about what I am doing at all? I honestly love my family more than anything in the world and I really don’t want to blame them for anything, but right now it’s so frustrating for me to see tolerance being mistaken for understanding. I just always imagined my support system differently, you know?
Maybe I also need a blogging break to find my bearings again.
Well before I write anything else I might end up regretting later on, I want to talk about the recipe for a bit. I made these Matcha Madeleines right after I bought the madeleine book I had been Internet-stalking for about a week. It was late last year, I think, and I remember I was sooooo excited to get the chance to use my madeleine pans more. The book is filled with many great flavours and glaze combinations, but I immediately latched on to the green tea madeleine variation, unaware that I was already nursing a budding love for matcha.
I distinctly remember my enthusiasm from that time. Madeleines were something different, and making them with green tea felt like a genius idea. My body can almost recall the feeling from that day, the way I took extra care to make every step right. There was the ecstasy of seeing the gorgeous shell-shaped cakelets, and the slight disappointment at the lack of green in them.
Maybe it’s memories like these I need to revisit more often to help me find my way back.
Madeleines aren’t actually hard to make at all, but they have this particular way of making them wherein you drizzle the melted butter into the batter, folding to incorporate. The only thing I would advise is that you use the best kind of matcha powder possible. Don’t use light green matcha mixes as they won’t show up that well in the batter. I know because that’s what I used the first time I made these. You can see in the photos the madeleines still look quite yellow.
When I made this recipe again, I used pure dark green matcha powder in the batter. The difference in colour, scent, and especially the taste, was jarring. From very mild in flavour and in scent, it became more full-bodied matcha, which I totally love.
And even though I accidentally left my madeleines 2.0 in the oven too long, you can still see that the madeleines are much, much greener from the outside in.
If you’re not much of a matcha fan, I would recommend my favourite recipe for lemon-flavoured madeleines. (Frankly they are more divine than these!) But hey, who doesn’t want a dose of matcha these days? It’s all the rage!
- 1/4 cup (55 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for greasing pan
- 2/3 cup (80 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting if necessary
- 1 1/2 teaspoon Matcha powder, plus more for optional garnish
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Zest of 1/2 lemon
- Powdered sugar, for optional garnish
- 1. Grease two madeleine pans with melted butter. If using non nonstick pans, dust with flour as well, tapping out excess. Chill the pans in the freezer until ready to bake. This will help make the madeleines pop out of the pan easily.
- 2. Into a small bowl, sift together the flour and matcha. Set aside.
- 3. In a medium bowl, with a handheld mixer or a strong arm, beat the eggs with the granulated sugar, salt, and vanilla for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture forms ribbons and roughly doubles in volume.
- 4. Using a rubber spatula, gradually fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture until incorporated. Drizzle in the melted butter and lemon zest and gently fold into the batter just until incorporated.
- 5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour up to 24 hours.
- 6. Position one rack in the upper quarter of the oven and another in the center. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). If using only one pan, place one rack in the center of the oven.
- 7. Spoon or pipe the chilled batter into the frozen pans, filling each mold about 3/4s of the way full.
- 8. If using two pans, stagger the pans in the oven so that the top pan isn't directly above the lower one. Bake, rotating front-to-back and upper-to-lower halfway through baking. Bake until golden brown around the edges, about 9 minutes. *
- 9. Immediately turn out the madeleines onto a wire rack and let cool. Dust with powdered sugar and a bit of matcha, if desired.
- * I own only one madeleine pan so I had to bake these one tray at a time. After popping my first batch onto a cooling rack, I just run my madeleine pan over very cold water then brush another fresh coat of butter before scooping in the batter again.
GIFs are awesome.