Saturday, 25 July 2015

The Taste of France

By: Mr Robot

Over the last couple of years we’ve mainly been trying to expand our cookery repertoire – not least dabbling with Burmese food (largely thanks to MiMi Aye), Vietnamese (Uyen Luu), and Japanese (Tim Anderson), while my subscription with The Spicery is for a World Discoverer box that takes me all over the place (including the odd trip to pastry hell). And though we’d never claim an ounce of expertise it’s exciting and liberating and fun to explore these things.

But for a while I’ve had the nagging feeling that perhaps we’re neglecting classical European a bit, and a recent trip to the new Bistrot Pierre in Bath only confirmed that.

I’ve also had a yearning to properly do one cookbook in full, cover to cover, including all the stuff that makes me dubious or scared.

So in the spirit of a double-bird massacre I’ve decided to go full tilt at The Taste of France by Robert Freson, Adrian Bailey and Jacqueline Saulnier. 

This is a lovely book of proper traditional French fare and when we picked it up about 15 years ago
, it was very much in the foodporn spirit: it has acres of descriptive text and atmospheric photos covering each region of France, though at the time the recipes seemed impossibly challenging.

Looking at it now, there’s little to be afraid of (don’t mention the pastry) and it’s not ridiculously huge - though now I come to count I hadn’t realised it runs to 91 recipes – so meets my current needs nicely. With any luck I’ll be able to pull off a spectacular multi-course feast each month or so and we should be done in, erm, a couple of years.

It won’t be without it’s challenges, not least for ingredients. My local butcher is wonderful but we may have difficulty getting hold of the hare, calves feet, snails and frog legs I’ll need to do it in full – thank heavens for interweb mail order. 

The authors also seem strangely devoted to chervil, which appears to be extinct in Wiltshire supermarkets, so I might have to get my wellies on and sort the garden out.

I can’t say my wallet is looking forward to the Lobster pot-au-feu or Turbot gigot styke and frankly I fully expect the Dried and Salted Pig’s Liver to go to the cat. But I’m going to do them anyway, because that’s what being a Greedybot is all about.

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