Katerina van Camp and Madeleine Woon (NOMS DU JOUR) are two Australian friends based in Amsterdam. Buoyed by a ‘live to eat’ mindset and a love of travel, food and wine, they started Noms du Jour in 2021. It’s an ode to eating, exploration, and evenings spent around the table, and we regularly profile smart and spirited people working within the food industry – from chefs and supper club hosts, to home cooks and growers. Here, they share their buttery, soft recipe for madeleine cakes.
10 ingredients you always have?
Butter, anchovies, parmesan, mustard, some type of berry, miso paste, Greek yoghurt, tahini, capers, fresh herbs.
What is your most memorable dining experience?
Eating dinner under a fig tree at Tonnara di Scopello in Sicily with the owner’s son and his friends, who we met while staying there a few summers ago. His uncle joined us and prepared ‘tonnara four ways’ pasta for dinner – fitting for a hotel built inside an old tuna fishery.
What influenced your love of food?
KVC: My family. Food is our love language and it has always brought my family together. Meals shared are memories made. Long lunching is our favourite pastime and driving two hours to Sydney just to have lunch isn’t unusual for us. My parents were always adventurous eaters – I will never forget going to school with homemade duck liver pâté sandwiches. Our eating habits were also heavily influenced by my grandparents. My grandfather was a very talented baker and confectioner, which he passed down to my father. They both had their own successful confectionery factories, which I loved to visit on weekends – could explain why I’m such a sweet tooth!
MW: My mum is a great cook–she’s really resourceful and intuitive, and her food is wholesome, tasty and generous – but she had to balance cooking with full-time work when we were growing up, so our kitchen was ruled by functionality. We ate every meal together at the table, so I guess I’ve always loved the ritual of sitting down to eat alongside the company of loved ones. I’ve been hugely influenced by food writers like Ruth Reichl, M.K. Fisherand Grace Dent, and by visiting farmer’s markets over the years. I feel good cooking and eating fresh produce.
The best cook you know?
MW: Yiayias in every taverna in Greece.
KVC: To this day my dad Benny’s cooking is very hard to beat.
Recipe for Madeleine cakes
Madeleines are a traditional French cake and one of literature’s most powerful metaphors, made famous by writer Marcel Proust after he used them to illustrate his theory that sensory cues – like a certain smell or a taste – could involuntarily trigger memories. For him, the taste of madeleine cakes transported him back to his childhood, where his aunt would feed him the spongy cakes with tea. In our opinion, they are also the perfect all-occasion baked good.
Ingredients (Makes 24 in a regular-sized madeleine tin)
- 125g plain flour
- 11/2 tsp baking powder
- 3 eggs (at room temp)
- 140g sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 50ml milk
- 2 tsp honey
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 135g unsalted butter (melted) Icing sugar to dust
1. Whisk eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until they become pale and fluffy (around 2 minutes)
2. Delicately fold the flour, salt and baking powder into the egg mixture. Do this gradually, around one third of it at a time until just combined.
3. Add everything else (except the butter) and mix until combined.
4. Lastly, add the melted butter and mix with a spatula until well combined.
5. Cover with cling wrap and leave the mixture to rest in the fridge for at least 6 hours – you can keep it in there for up to two days.
6. After your madeleines have enjoyed a nap in the fridge comes the fun part: bake. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees (fan force).
7. Butter the madeleine tin with a pastry brush to get into all the grooves, then dust a light layer of flour over it. This will make your life easier when you demould them.
8. Carefully spoon the mixture into the tin just a few millimetres from the top.
9. Bake for 8–10 minutes until golden.
10. Carefully remove your madeleines from the mould straight away so they don’t stick.
11. They are best eaten straight from the oven while still warm. Add a dusting of icing sugar, or jazz them up with some melted chocolate or serve with some crème fraiche, a bit of sugar, vanilla and lemon for dipping.