Isn’t this the most gorgeous cookery book you’ve ever seen? I was blown away be the charm of this book and had to have it. On the same day I went out and bought some springform cake tins so I could start baking that afternoon. I had a blissful evening making a tarte au citron and remembering my trip to Paris last year.
It’s not so much a cookery book as an account of the author’s decision to move her family from Australia to France to start a cookery school in a Normandy château. It’s this story, right though house-hunting, renovation, language and schools for the children, to the arrival of her first paying guests, that take up most of the book. It’s packed with stunning photography, of family life in France, local markets and food, and their beautiful new home. Also included are 37 French-inspired recipes, divided into seasonal chapters; Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter. All this is printed on pages that feel like the best quality writing paper, thick and matt. It’s a book to sit and read, as well as to prop up behind the mixing bowl. And the three ribbons; red, white and blue, for the tricolour, are pretty cool too.
But the measure of a cookery book is in the recipes. I’ve tried the following; cheese sables; Lou’s potato and spinach soup; tarte au citron; blackberry butter cake; chicken and leek pie.
All of these are excellent, both the soup and the pie being particularly yummy. Clear instructions on uncluttered pages with enticing photos of almost every recipe, nothing too tricky, and always great results. If you’re looking for a flavour of France in your kitchen, this is a good, friendly place to start. Some of the recipes I want to do soon are; raspberry almond clafoutis (pictured); salad of beetroot, pink grapefruit, goat’s cheese and mint; pommes charlotte salad; stuffed tomatos; and pear tarte tatin.
Its true that some of the recipes are a little outside my budget (such as Milk-fed Veal with Vermouth and Tarragon), that there is the occasional mistake (clotted cream is listed for the soup, but never added), and that at £25.00 for just under 40 recipes its not the best value cookery book available, but I hope you’ll overlook these minor flaws if you’re thinking of buying this book, because it’s now one of my favourites, and I will always love it for the sheer beauty, flavour, skill, warmth, style, and joie de vivre it exudes.