The theme for this month's MacTweets, the monthly blog challenge for which various bloggers confront their fear of the dastardly macaron, is Ball Park Snacks.
Nigel Slater wrote a lovely piece in his book, Eating for England, about our failure to produce chic, fit-for-purpose street food. The same applies to the food served in football and rugby stadiums, where the most common foods on offer are pies, or burgers. Not really a snack, I'm sure you'll agree and we certainly don't have the range of food on offer that is routine at baseball stadiums. But as the stereotype goes, we tend to drink so much at these events, that something substantial is needed to soak up the booze.
In case you're wondering, I don't consider Wimbledon to be in the running for this theme, given that it is an annual, not seasonal event. Also, I've been to Wimbledon. For me, it is not a fun day out. Look at the rules. What a bunch of stiffs. Also, 25p for a strawberry? Get out of it!
I'm writing this post on the second day of the London Sevens, the crowds at which I can hear from my window.
Despite living a stone's throw from Twickenham Rugby Stadium and having attended the Sevens on many occasions, I am none the wiser as to the rules of rugby. This is because for me, Sevens has only ever meant one thing: car boot picnic!
Most people travel to the stadium by train, but for those willing to get up ridiculously early to travel down the A316 in order to beat the queues, travelling by car brings the reward of a pre-match picnic.
|I took this from Flickr but can't remember who it belongs to. Anyway, picnic! Taken on the north side of Twickenham Rugby Stadium, guessing the late '80s from the clothes.|
There's been a bit of a clamp-down in recent years which means that only ticket holders can go into the official stadium car parks (boo). But if you had friends attending the game, you used to be able to sneak into the car park and perch on the car boot, eating Scotch eggs and the like, while listening to the game on the radio. When the game ended, everyone reconvened at the car and finished off the food while waiting for the crowds to dissipate.
This was back in the days when I couldn't cook and certainly didn't bake. Everyone was expected to bring two or three things to the picnic (in addition to at least 6 cans of beer or 1 bottle of wine per person, obviously).
My contribution was always toffee popcorn (Butterkist, Butterkist, ra-ra-ra!), pitta and houmous and a bottle of Pimms.
I toyed with the idea of a houmous macaron (maybe when we tackle savoury macs again, tahini macs sound good...) but in the end plumped for a popcorn macaron.
I won't lie. This macaron was a little bitch.
Try making caramel with a water-logged candy thermometer: funsies! On second thoughts, don't.
Four batches of split caramel later, I finally managed to get the caramel married to the buttercream, only to have the bowl drop onto the floor, spattering buttercream everywhere before rolling to a stop on the carpet. I got there in the end, but not before wasting a whole packet of butter and having to scrub caramel from the carpet and my hair.
I used Pierre Herme's recipe for caramel buttercream and Ottolenghi's recipe for macaron shells.
The popcorn used on and in the shells was caramelized with some cashews and pecans, but I think roasted peanuts would be good here, especially if you switched the caramel buttercream for a peanut butter cream.
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