Thursday, March 22, 2012

Le Bakehouse: Macarons with my sister

Today I'd like to share with you my Wednesday.

It started early. My week days generally do. Yesterday, though, my car was going in to receive a new timing belt (? still a mystery to me), so I went for an early run before dropping it off. Our weather has finally hit autumn and it was cool and only just light as I went out the door at 5.50am. Perfect weather for running.

I visited Lake Monger, one of my favourite nearby running spots, which has a 3.5km path around the lake. The picture on the top left of my header is taken over a bridge connecting into the Lake Monger area. Normally, the lake is tranquil and a perfect morning setting.

Not taken yesterday...

Yesterday, it was completely overtaken by bugs. Lots and lots and lots of small midge bugs, in swarms, everywhere I tried to run. I tried out-running them. I tried veering off the path. I tried returning to the path. They got in my hair, down my shirt, on my legs and arms, and worst of all - at least 4 of them were ultimately swallowed when I gave in to the urge to open my mouth for some air.


At least I should have provided entertainment of anyone driving around the area. I can only imagine that I looked like someone who has completely lost their mind and decided to celebrate by doing a wild, flailing dance with intermittent coughing.

After making it home (who knew that would be so hard?) and getting ready for the day, I dropped off the car a pleasingly short distance away. I have recently discovered a new car servicing option, and it is located between my house and my 2-days-per-week work location. Given that the distance between my house and this 2-days-per-week work location is a 10 minute walk, this is quite impressively convenient.

The rest of the morning was uneventful. Lunch not so much.

At lunch, you see, I decided to try those quinoa flakes in porridge form.

They were to be mixed with cocoa and sultanas and provide a sort of lunch dessert. I was quite looking forward to it.

I had visions of this being a new work 'thing', and something easy to throw together in the morning and then cook at work.

Something that would provide protein as well as carbohydrate, and be nice and warm on cold winter days (presuming we get some).

It could have been all of those things. But I didn't count on a porridge explosion when I wasn't looking.

The mess was quite impressive.

I may have learnt a lesson about making quinoa porridge in a mug in a microwaves with unknown power levels.

And about leaving said porridge in said microwave alone for even 10 seconds.

I did at least manage to enjoy some of the quinoa porridge mix. No bitterness, nice and creamy, sweet sultana bites on occasion, and definitely something to try again, albeit with microwave caution. Very good.

Fast forward to 4pm. I made an early work exit and met my sister at a bakery-cafe nearby.  A cafe that was down the road from where my car was sitting, 5 minutes from work, and 5 minutes from home. In other words, a delightful opportunity to not only meet my sister, but to stay in my neighbourhood all day long whilst also experiencing a new-ish cafe that I had only been in once before.

Le Bakehouse is on Railway Parade in West Leederville, very near the West Leederville train station, and replaced a franchise bakery (Michel's Patisserie) last year. It captivated me from day one with signs for various sourdough breads, fruit loafs, and other bread products that I love the idea of but actually rarely buy (thus my single previous visit).

They also have a full range of bakery and patisserie products, do coffees, and, as the title of this post would suggest, make and sell macarons.

Macarons have been intriguing me for months. I see them all around the blogosphere, and in an increasing number of patisseries. I read The Cake Mistress's tutorial on how to make your own.

These delicate looking creations are effectively two meringue shells with slight almond flavouring, sandwiched with buttercream or ganache. They are clearly not vegan. They were clearly going to be sweet. I figured they were something I had to try at least once.

My sister seemed happy to make our catch-up macaron based. Her last macarons were in Paris, on her travels last year, so I think it was kind of her to join me in what was never going to be quite the same sort of experience.

She ordered a chai latte (not in the above picture) with a 'pink' macaron, whilst I ordered a soy cappuccino with a 'purple' macaron. The macarons were delivered to us with the phrasing 'strawberry' and 'blueberry', and I may have ordered a different colour if I'd thought about the possible flavour links (green, for instance - apple? or green tea?).

As it was, I couldn't taste blueberry so perhaps it wouldn't have mattered. The shell was crisp. Light and delicate and airy in the way that meringues are meant to be. The shell was sweet, and the centre sweeter. There was a slight nuttiness in the cream centre, reminiscent of a noisette truffle filling.

Did I like it? Yes. Is it likely to become a standard order? Probably not. It was fun to eat, very much so in fact, but a bit too sweet and a bit too airy for regular consumption.

My coffee deserves a mention for the chocolate sauce drizzled across the top. This was quite a nice touch at afternoon tea but I did wonder if they do it at breakfast time too; I would probably enjoy it less at that time of day!

All in all, this was a fun and frivolous end to a day that started with bugs and had a quinoa diaster in the middle and all happened within about a 5km radius of my house. And as the green macaron has got under my skin, I sense there may be at least one more macaron in my future too...

What did your Wednesday involve?


  1. I've had to clean out a microwave after porridge has exploded and it's almost easier to go out and buy a new microwave. At least your day ended well with a lovely macaron and coffee xx

    1. I wasn't sure how kindly the workplace building and operations staff would take to my idea of a new microwave :D But yes, it would have been nice!

  2. Oh dear, I find that microwaves are wonderful for reheating food and cooking vegetables but other types of cooking can turn into disasters! My first attempt of making a mug cake last year resulted in a burnt cake and a smelly kitchen for days. I think I would prefer a porridge explosion even though it's not an ideal outcome!

    I actually didn't know that macaroons were meringue based but I don't really pay that much attention to sweets.

    1. Well, they're sweet *and* they're egg based, so I would imagine they are not your thing twice over! Nice occasionally, but probably not much more than that for me either.

      A burnt mug cake is going down as a reason for me to never try that trend. I have always thought it must be too good to be true!

  3. hehe I have done the same thing with porridge in the microwave. Not fun!!

    1. No! I guess it must be a porridge rite of passage - I've nearly done it many times before, but this was the first Big Mess.

  4. we have bought a bigger bowl to make porridge so it doesn't overflow so I sympathise with your explosion - though my worst experience was trying to make it at my mum's because I think her microwave was more powerful.

    I've tried meringues before but am not so into them as other desserts - I am sure they gave your sister an excuse to reminisce about Paris - and who can complain about that!

    1. I blame the work microwave for being more powerful too. The worst thing is I did think I should turn down the power, but couldn't work out how to do so, so chanced it at regular level. Definitely not the right decision!

      Reminiscing about Paris...any time I think, any time :)

  5. My wednesday involved drinking far too much wine with my mother - good times!

    I think everyone has done that with porridge. I use a giant bowl now. In the end it only fills 1/3 but somehow during the cooking it nearly gets to the top.

    1. It's odd, isn't it, the ways of porridge during cooking? Your bowl sounds like the way to go.

      Too much wine with your mother also sounds on a par with macarons with one's sister...or even one up!

  6. Maybe pistachio... that would be yummy. Probably a bit less sweet, too. Macarons are something I would love to try, but so not vegan. If someone can invent a good vegan version, I will worship them!

    1. Ooh yes, pistachio! That would be lovely. Your comment about a vegan version sounds almost like a challenge, but one I suspect would be well beyond me...I'll join in the worship if someone else manages it though!

  7. Ah ha! I have been wondering what those macaroons were.. I think of macaroons as being the little coconut ball cookies so I was always confused when people talked about those. (Clearly I haven't had one either, I never see them in bakeries and/or I don't go to bakeries enough!)

    1. I think the traditional macaroons are coconut cookies, so I used to get confused too. These are so completely different that I feel like they should have a completely different name too! Much fluffier and lighter.

  8. My Wednesday followed a very similar pattern of fail fail fail wonderment. I was up too early (for me), spent 2 hours at the airport waiting for the fog to lift so I could get to Sydney for my work meeting, cancelled my flights because by the time they were set to leave it was pointless for me to go. Back to office, sadness about unrelated things, then gospel which saw me discover that a girl who's been there longer than me is yet another soul connection, also frenetic hysterical laughter and fake-tap dancing and collapsing on the floor giggling during the break, then home to fail at sleeping again.

    Um.... that was far too long. I'm so sorry. I'm not usually this self-focused in comments. Now, to you!

    EWWWWWW BUGS OF DOOOOOM!!!!! Yes, the porridge in microwave explosions are a risk. I watch my oatmeal at work like a hawk for the entire 2 and a half minutes. Also... not to be a buzzkill, but those look like terrible, terrible amarons. They should not be that bumpy and grainy, and the shape is terrible!

    1. Your Wednesday sounds like it had more peaks and troughs in it than mine - although at least the gospel part was spectacularly peaked! What a good discovery, although your sleep woes make me sad (as does sadness about unrelated things, incidentally).

      Trust you to know more than I on the intricate details of how macarons should look! In my mind you have meringues as well as truffles in your corner of the Kitchen Queen square (which, on writing it, makes my mind sound like a most bizarre thing), and then of course you probably ate them in Paris too :)

    2. Teehee. You may or may not find on my blog a recap of the 66 macarons I ate in two weeks in Paris. Except the funny thing is that I really don't like them all that much, and all of the macarons I ate in Paris came from the freezer aisles of Monoprix or Picard. Sometimes I slum it, baby! The only thing I do like about macarons is that they're the one treat where cafes consistently dream up inventive flavours. I like novelty.


I genuinely appreciate all comments and the time taken to post them. Occasionally, I may need to restrict commenting to registered users in order to halt large volumes of spam. If that happens, I will lift the restriction within a week.

Want other ways to interact? Bite-sized thoughts is on Facebook ( and Twitter (