top of page
  • Melissa Orquiza

Blackberry & Star Anise Friands, The Color Pink, Pink Sweat$, Hardy, Pink Martini, & Debussy

Blackberry & Star Anise Friands! I don't know what a "friand" is but it sure is delicious!

Blackberry & Star Anise Friands, The Psychology of Pink, Color & Pitch Relativism, Pink Sweat$, The Books, Françoise Hardy, Pink Martini & Debussy

Originally Published April 21, 2021

I LOVE flowers. I love bouquets, orchids, flowers growing in the garden, flower patterns on my shirts, and most especially, on my dresses. If I could get away with wearing flowers in my hair, wearing pink and looking professional, I would but I cannot. I love pink flowers, white flowers, purple flowers, yellow flowers, red flowers. I LOVED getting roses when I was dating but would (sometimes) get super embarrassed. My husband knows this and to this day, still shows up with flowers for me, especially when life needs a little sprucing up.

Luckily, my daughter has inherited my love of flowers. One of our favorite pastimes is to slowly watch flowers bloom into their full glory whether it be half opened roses, orchid buds or lavender blossoms. Anything and everything that blooms, we try to take the time and smile (even for a moment) and marvel that beauty can coexist with chaos. Here’s to momentarily, putting on your rose-tinted glasses.

Watching my daughter paint has made me rethink my deeply personal reactions to color. I hated pink as a child, because the stolid and overt pressure for feminine conformity made me react as to “why?” and no one could give me a solid answer. (My father thought this was hilarious.) Behold, now as a mother to a daughter, who happens to LOVE pink, I’ve embraced my short-sightedness. I now, love pink, too… especially lip color!

The color psychology of pink is fascinating. For example, it is especially soothing in small doses and apparently, it is calming initially, but inmates become agitated once they become accustomed to the color. Sports teams also, become passive and less energetic. (Um…why this is associated with femininity?) Whatever. I still like it.

The Color Psychology of Pink

Color, tuning and relativism. Like gradations of color, it’s the same with tuning. Darker, lighter, sharp or flat, it’s all relative. Discussing what is considered in tune and out of tune can be relative considering the ensemble and the genre, or decidedly the microtone. When is an “A” really an “A”? In many ways, like love, sometimes, you have to release the idea of precision to elicit romance, whimsy, and predictability. Obviously, I highly value the idea of boring… but ironically, boring doesn’t exist without playfulness. Thank goodness!

The Books - "Lemon of Pink 1"

I love how pink is embraced by all. Because life is too short to not have a fun groove. As much as I love “heady” music, sometimes you just need a sexy groove to sway to. This is the music my husband catches me dancing to in the kitchen (and usually freezes, peculiarly smiles… and slowly backs away…) Btw, it’s the same reaction I have when he plays videogames.

Pink Sweat$ - "At My Worst" (feat. Kehlani) [Official Video]

I love hearing different versions of the same song. How can you not think of the color pink without losing yourself to love (albeit without somewhat, silencing the intellectual part of you…)

Françoise Hardy- "Le Premier Bonheur Du Jour”

Pink Martini, The Von Trapps - Le Premier Bonheur Du Jour

Beautifully played. Her technique and phrasing is impressive considering how difficult the passages are, not because of the playability of the notes, but because of the difference in attacks in order to bring out the melodies and countermelodies in what are essentially, arpeggios. It’s like the sonic version of silk, feathers, floral patterns or the subtlety of an impressionistic painting. If you can zone out, it’s like having an impressionistic meditation. Enjoy!

Claude Debussy, Estampes - Anna Zassimova, Piano

Thanks for reading! I hope this made you smile, laugh, and think about the world in a different way. Hopefully, it helped inspire you or rethink a situation that needs a rosier light! Have a wonderful week! Xo, Melissa

Blackberry and Star Anise Friands

from “Sweet” by Yotam Ottolenghi & Helen Goh

Makes 12

I froze half of this baked batch without the icing for future delights. The original recipe called for oval shaped pans but also suggested all sorts of shapes would work well, too. Because I normally bake for my family’s noshing on the weekends, I used a mini muffin pan. My daughter and I love having afternoon tea, while my husband laughs at us. We can at least PRETEND to be civilized! I hope this brings as much joy as it did for us.


3/4 cup plus 2 tsp / 180 g unsalted butter, plus 1 tbsp/15g melted for brushing

1/2 cup/ 60 g all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting

1 2/3 cup/ 200g confectioners sugar

1 1/4 cups/ 120g almond meal

1 1/2 tsp ground star anise (or 3 whole star anise, ground in a spice grinder and passed through a fine- mesh sieve) I had to think really carefully whether or not my toddler would approve or if I should make it more “normal.” Luckily, she loved the elegance.

1/8 tsp salt

5 1/4 oz/ 150 g egg whites (from 4 large eggs)

finely grated zest of 1 small orange (1 tsp)

18 fresh blackberries, cut in half lengthwise

Icing (Optional)

2 oz/ 55 g fresh blackberries, plus 24 blackberries, to garnish (I used blackberries and blueberries so we wouldn’t have to go to the store. She went nuts filling the molds.)

3/4 Tbsp water

1 tsp lemon juice

1 1/3 cups/ 160 g confectioners’ sugar


  1. Preheat the over to 425 degrees Fahrenheit or 220 degrees Celsius. Brush the 12 molds in a regular muffin pan with the melted butter and dust with flour. Tap the pan gently to ensure an even coating of the flour, then turn upside down to remove the excess. Place in the fridge to chill while you make the batter.

  2. Place the butter in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until melted. Continue to cook until the butter is foaming, gently swirling the pan from time to time, to allow the solids to brown more evenly. You will see dark brown sediments begin to form on the sides and bottom of the pan. Continue to allow the butter to bubble away until it turns a rich golden brown and smells of toasted nuts and caramel. Remove the pan from the heat and let it stand for 5 minutes, to allow the burnt solids to collect at the bottom of the pan. Strain through a fine-mesh (or muslin-lined) sieve, discarding the solids. Allow the browned butter to cool slightly before using. It should still be warm when folding into the mix later. If it is too hot, it will cook the egg whites; if it is too cool, it will be difficult to incorporate into the mix.

  3. While the butter is cooling, sift the flour, confectioners’ sugar, almond meal, star anise and salt into a bowl. Place the egg whites in a small bowl and use a whisk or fork to froth them up for a few seconds - you do not need to whisk them completely. Pour the egg whites into the sifted dry ingredients and stir until they are incorporated. Add the orange zest and browned butter and mix until the batter is smooth.

  4. Remove the muffin pan from the fridge and fill the mold just over two-thirds of the way up the sides. Place three halved blackberries on top, cut-side down, and bake for 10 minutes. (I left my daughter alone doing this so she stuffed a lot of fruit everywhere.) Lower the temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit or 200 degrees Celsius- starting with a high oven temperature and then bringing it down is the way to achieve the lovely brown crust you want - rotate the pan for even cooking and continue to bake for another 8 minutes, until the edges of the friands are golden brown and the centers have a light peak and spring back when gently prodded. Set aside to cool before removing them from their molds; you might need to use a small knife to help you release the sides.

  5. To make the icing: Place the 2 oz/ 55 g blackberries in a small bowl with the water and lemon juice. Use a fork to mash them together, then pass the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to extract as much fruit juice as possible. Sift the confectioners’ sugar into a medium bowl, pour in the blackberry juice and combine to make a light purple, runny icing; it should be thick enough to form a thin glaze on the tops of the cakes.

  6. Spoon the icing over the cakes, spreading it to the edges so that it runs down the sides. Do this on a rack, if you can, as icing them on a plate or sheet of parchment paper means that the icing will pool at the bottom. Place a couple of fresh blackberries on each friend, set aside for 20-30 minutes to set, and then serve.

#blackberryandstaranisefriands, @yotamottolenghi, @helengoh, #thepsychologyofpink, @pinksweat$,@kehlani, @thebooks, @françoisehardy, @pinkmartini&thevontrapps, @debussy, #debussyestampes, @annazassimova

81 views0 comments
bottom of page