Almond macaroons at the book club

Why not seize the pleasure at once? How often is happiness destroyed by preparation, foolish preparation !

                                                                          – Jane Austen , Emma

I am so happy to be posting my first book review as a member of the club ‘This book makes me cook ‘.The book of the month was ‘ The Jane Austen Book Club ‘ by Karen Joy Fowler. The story is about a club dedicated to reading the works of the very talented Jane Austen. The book club is the idea of Jocelyn a 50 something unmarried woman who ropes in the rest of the members of the club : Sylvia, Jocelyn’s oldest and closest friend is going through a painful divorce with her husband of 32 years, Allegra, Sylvia’s beautiful daughter, has her own bad luck with a relationship gone sour, Bernadette , the oldest member is married more than once, and has an interesting life behind her, Prudie , the youngest, a French teacher is the only married member, has had an unhappy childhood. And the last and the only male member of the group, Grigg, who everyone is curious about. None of them know why Jocelyn invites Grigg to be a part of their club. As they continue reading Jane Austen novels over a period of six months, each of their lives unfold, with a possible chance of a surprise love story brewing.

What I loved most about the book is how the author intertwines excerpts from different Jane Austen novels with her own writing. The book has a thorough appendix section in the end. Even better, is a section where the author has included questions put forth by the different characters of her story. It was fun pondering over some of them. The author’s narrative of the characters’ lives is quite page turning and if I may say so, has a hint or more of masala to it. All in all a good read.

Is modern love akin to love in the time of Jane Austen is a question I ask

Since the book was about a book club, I was inspired to bake Almond macaroons, something I’m sure would be well received at a warm cozy tea time get together. They are very easy to make. You can make them in a jiffy and impress your surprise guests.

Almond macaroons

Source : Adapted from : The Big book of baking

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg white
  • 3 oz ground almonds
  • 3 oz caster sugar plus extra for rolling
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 6-7 blanched almonds , split in half

Method:

  • Preheat the oven tp 180° C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Beat the egg white with a fork until frothy, then stir in the ground almonds, sugar and almond extract, mixing to form a sticky dough.
  • Using lightly sugared hands, roll the dough into balls, lightly flatten them and place on the baking tray. Press an almond half into the centre of each.
  • Bake in a preheated oven for 15-20 mins or until pale golden. Place on a wire rack to cool.
  • Store in an air tight container.

Makes about 12 macaroons

Note: To blanch almonds, place them in a bowl and pour hot water over them. Let them sit for about a minute. Drain the hot water and rinse with cold water. Pat them dry and remove the skins which will slip off easily.

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