Lemon Madeleines

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Madeleines have always held a whimsical fascination for me. Their delicate crumb, distinctive shell shape and the cute hump, without which it isn't really a madeleine, is it?!

Lemon Madeleines, delicate shell shaped tea cakes perfect for dipping in your cuppa.

 When LionsHome got in touch with me and asked me to create a recipe for them, my mind skipped right over to madeleines. I've had a hankering for the adorable little tea cakes for the longest time but always put off baking them as my madeleine pan is of the vintage persuasion. Beautiful to look at but the non stick coating is, to say, non existent.  That's where I decided enough was enough, I just had to invest in a new Madeleine Tin. No need to over grease the holes, no need to gently jimmy a knife around the edge of each cake only to completely destroy their beautiful shape.  They just slipped out like a dream.  I can see many more madeleines in my future.

Lemon Madeleines, delicate shell shaped tea cakes perfect for dipping in your cuppa.

One thing I must say about baking these little delicacies, you must follow the chilling advice.  The chilling of the batter is what helps the cake form their distinctive hump.  Chill the batter, chill the pan and you should have perfectly formed little cakes. 

Lemon Madeleines, delicate shell shaped tea cakes perfect for dipping in your cuppa.

With a plate of still warm from the oven lemon madeleines, a piping hot cup of tea I had nothing else to do but peruse the Kitchen section of LionsHome for a spot of window shopping.  One of my favourite things in the world is to just sit and pour over online shops full of gorgeous home wares and imagine what I would buy and where I would put them in my home.  If only I had a bigger house to fill.



Lemon Madeleines

Ingredients
  • 3 large, free range eggs
  • 130g caster sugar
  • 175g plain flour
  • zest of 1 small lemon
  • 125g unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature.
  • 1tbsp unsalted butter, melted for greasing the moulds
Cooking Directions
  1. Brush the holes of a madeleine pan with melted butter. Dust with flour, tap off any excess, and place in the fridge or freezer while you make your batter.
  2. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, whip the eggs and caster sugar for 5 minutes until frothy and thick.
  3. Sift the flour into the whipped eggs, fold in gently. Once the flour is just incorporated add the lemon zest to the cooled butter, then dribble the butter into the batter a little at a time, folding the butter in as you pour until it is all incorporated.
  4. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (Batter can be chilled for up to 12 hours.)
  5. To bake the madeleines, preheat the oven to 175C. Pop around 1tbsp of batter into each mould and bake for 9-10 minutes until the cakes just feel set and have gone golden brown.
  6. Remove from the oven, leave to cool for 5 minutes and slide the madeleines out onto a cooling rack. Dust with icing sugar and enjoy. 
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National No Smoking Day and Why It’s good to be a Quitter

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National No Smoking Day – Wednesday, March 8th



National No Smoking Day has a long history in the UK, with the first ever event taking place back in 1983, on Ash Wednesday. Since then, the Day has taken place on the second Wednesday in March each year with the British Heart Foundation backing the idea since 2011. No Smoking Day promotes giving up through positive encouragement, education on the benefits of stopping smoking, and advice about the best ways to quit.



The health benefits of stopping smoking


In our hearts, we all know that smoking is bad for our health. For anyone thinking of quitting, spelling out the health benefits of quitting can be a powerful motivator. Here are just some of the health improvements you’ll see, if you stop smoking.




Longer life

Statistics relating to smoking and longevity make for grim reading, with around half of all long-term smokers dying prematurely, from diseases such as lung cancer or heart disease. No matter what age you decide to stop smoking, it will increase the odds of you living to a healthier, happier old age.


Easy breathing

Smoking has a huge impact on your lung function and your ability to breathe easily. In less than a year, people who have given up smoking should see a 10% improvement in lung capacity, and should breathe more easily and cough less.


Reduced stress levels

Whilst some people claim that they smoke to calm their stress levels, it has actually been proved that non-smokers suffer less from stress than smokers. Quitting will reduce your overall stress levels, making you feel happier and calmer.


Better sex

Quite apart from the fact that people generally find non-smokers much more attractive than smokers, there are some scientifically-proven benefits, when it comes to enjoyment of sex. Stopping smoking will improve blood flow, which in turn will increase sensitivity in both men and women. 


Fertility improvements

Smoking has a negative effect on both men and women, in terms of fertility. Men’s sperm can be less potent, and women can find it harder to get pregnant. Stopping smoking reverses this, and also reduces the chances of miscarriage and improves the chances of having a healthy baby.


Improved energy levels

Within just a few weeks of quitting, your blood circulation will improve noticeably, and your immune system will be rejuvenated. You’ll have more energy for physical exercise, such as walking or running, and you’ll be less susceptible to viruses and minor ailments.


Whiter teeth and cleaner breath

As any non-smoker will confirm, smoking causes your teeth to stain and become yellowed, and your breath to smell. All that will improve after giving up, and you’ll also lessen the chances of gum disease or premature tooth loss.


Better skin

Regular smoking can give people a pale, creased complexion, but this can be reversed by giving up. Non-smokers have been shown to have fewer wrinkles and younger looking skin.


Improved sense of smell and taste

As well as making your clothes smell and your teeth and nails go yellow, smoking cigarettes actually dulls your sense of smell and taste. The toxic chemicals in cigarettes affect the tongue through a process known as vascularisation, making the taste buds lose their shape over time. Smoking doesn’t kill taste buds, but it does make them much less effective at sending signals to your brain about the food you’re eating. Once you’ve stopped smoking, your taste buds and sense of smell will recover, allowing you to really enjoy food once again.



The best way to quit


It has been proven that people are more likely to be successful at permanently giving up smoking if they use a nicotine replacement. Nicotine replacement therapies are more effective than almost any other method of giving up. These therapies include patches, lozenges, chewing gum, inhalers or nasal sprays. One of the most effective nicotine replacement therapies, however, is e-cigarettes.



Public Health England has produced an independent review showing that e-cigarettes have real potential for helping people to give up, and it found that e-cigarettes were about 95% less harmful than conventional cigarettes. Backing up this review, a landmark study published just days ago, and supported by the NHS, has concluded that vaping is ‘far safer than smoking’, after extensive long-term studies of real world smokers and former smokers. This study was funded by Cancer Research UK, and involved scientists from across the world.



It’s worth pointing out that e-cigarettes were actually developed in order to provide a safer alternative to smoking, so the results of these studies should come as no real surprise, however public perception in some quarters still hasn’t quite caught up with the latest facts.

                                                                                                                    

For a smoker who is trying to quit, e-cigarettes provide a nicotine replacement in the same way that patches and gum provide, but they also offer much more in terms of a smoking-like experience. For many, that will provide a real boost to their chances of quitting permanently, which can only be a positive thing.

*This is a sponsored post. Posts like this help sustain this blog and its day to day running. This post may represent a conflict of interest but as smoking something I feel very strongly about I have chosen to share this infographic.


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