Toronto and a recipe for madeleines

Apparently, the second "t" is silent. That's how you pronounce Toronto. Or so we were told!!

We flew into Toronto and the city was spectacular. Wide roads, acres of open countryside, single storey buildings, at least around the periphery of the airport.

Niagara Falls beckoned, they were truly spectacular. A trip on the boat, Maid of the Mist took us for a closer look and in spite of wearing raincoats, of course we got drenched trying to take pictures. On a clear day, you can see for miles. And we did - all the way to New York!! Figuratively, of course.

We walked through the town of Niagara, popped into stores selling souvenirs and did other touristy things. On the way back home, we took a detour and drove into the prettiest little town I have ever seen - Niagara on the Lake. A broad road running through the town, homes and businesses on either side and a beautiful lake completed the picture perfect postcard scene.

Craft shops, liquour stores, restaurants, a bank, flowers growing along the sidewalks- and it looked like a movie set.

Most interesting of all...

...enough to make Willy Wonka green with envy.

We stayed at Marriott's Residence Inn Toronto Vaughan. This was the business district, plenty of hotels and a walk around the area revealed very few shops. The hotel was comfortable and served good breakfasts.

No less than National Geographic has rated St.Lawrence Market, 200 years old and counting, as the best food market in the world. Everything from ready to eat food, fresh fruit and veg and meat products are sold here. The Farmer's market is in the North Market.

Bakes, samosas and brownies

Fresh fruit and veg
Breads and more bakes

The South Market was a different story altogether. Stores selling kitchen ware, hats, souvenirs, chocolates, dried fruits, more fruit and veg stores, delis, stalls selling hummus, pita, nachos, dips and a plethora of ready to eat food stalls. Every stall had a tasting counter. One could taste ones way through lunch!!

Make your own pasta stall

My sister in law had to drag me away from the pasta stall. Just imagine- choose your pasta, choose from 3 kinds of sauces or choose all 3, choose your cheese and lunch /dinner is ready. We were given a sample. Unbelievably tasty.

Macarons, shellfish, olives

And a word of warning to the wise:

While waiting for the car to take us back to the hotel, we entered one of the shops in front of the market selling second hand stuff. Browsing through some of the things they had on sale, I spotted 2 madeleine trays. 2 trays at the cost of a new one- and that too almost brand new? Too good to resist!

The first thing I did when we came back to the hotel was to give those pans a good scrub.

Back home, I put those pans to good use and made a batch of madeleines. Orange scented ones with an orange icing. Ideally, madeleines should bake with a hump on the top, i.e., the back of the shell pattern  or scallop. I find that freezing the pans, chilling the batter for half an hour and adding a tiny pinch of baking powder contribute towards this.

No madeleine pan? I guess you could bake in shallow muffin pans. Of course, it won't look like a madeleine but will taste like one.

Iced orange madeleines

180 gm flour
A pinch of salt
A pinch of baking powder
3 eggs
140 gm sugar
Grated zest of 1/2 orange
130 gm butter, melted over a gentle heat and cooled
1 teaspoon orange flower water (optional)

150 gm icing sugar, sifted
Juice of 1 orange, strained

*If your madeleine pans are not made of nonstick material, melt extra butter and brush the moulds with it.
Sprinkle flour over the indentations till well coated, knock out the extra flour.
Place the trays in the freezer for about half an hour.

Sift together flour, salt and baking powder. Keep aside.
Place the eggs, sugar and orange zest into a mixing bowl, use an electric beater and whip till light and fluffy.
Lightly fold in the sifted flour, then pour half the melted butter and the orange flower water around the batter and fold in gently.
Repeat with the remaining butter.
Clean the side of the bowl, cover it and keep in the fridge for about half an hour.
Fill the indentations with the batter, bake at 210°C in a preheated oven for about 10 minutes or till the edges begin to darken.
Remove from the oven and turn out onto a wire rack after about 5 minutes. 
While the madeleines are cooling, mix icing sugar and orange juice in a bowl. 
Add a tiny bit of water if necessary to make it runny.
Put about 5-6 madeleines into the icing and roll them around with a spatula.
Take each one out, scrape off the excess icing and leave to set back on the rack, scalloped side facing up.
Repeat with the remaining madeleines. 

Or you could leave them plain.

Makes 24.

Enjoy your madeleines with a cup of hot tea.


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