Having fabulous cookery books sent to me is a perk of having a blog and when the lovely people at Quadrille Publishing sent me 'French Country Cooking' by Michel and Albert Roux I did wonder if I'd missed a trick. Perhaps I was a bit too young and had my attentions elsewhere but I don't recall seeing this book when first released. However it's recent hard back re-print has certainly come at a perfect time for me as of all the 350+ cookery books I own, less then 5 are French and there is definitely room for more pearls of French culinary wisdom on my bookshelf.
The book, divided into twelve regional chapters, gives an excellent insight into popular dishes of each region along with the traditions and ingredients unique to the area. From Provence and Alsace to the lesser known regions of Vendee, Pays Basque and Guyenne; the book is a colourful journey into the secrets of regional and seasonal cookery of France. There is also a very useful pre-chapter on 'Basic Recipes' which include the classic French recipes for several different types of pastry, from choux to shortcrust, as well as stocks, mayonnaise and custard.
One of my favourite recipes comes in pretty early on in the 'Normandy and Brittany' chapter in the for 'Blanquette de Veau' that fabulous French classic courtesy of Albert and Michel's own Mother, Maman Roux. For those who remember watching Keith Floyd prepare a Pays Basque classic of Piperade to an utterly disgusted lady restaurateur, you can create this now infamous dish yourself from the recipe on page 99. Other classic recipes included Crepes Suzette, Bouillabaisse, Gourgeres as well as the more interesting 'Jambon au foin' (ham cooked in hay)and the oh-so-decadent 'Tourtiere aux Morilles' a heavely puff pastry pie filled with a generous amount of my absolute favourite Morel mushrooms with ham and truffles. Heaven.
This is a book of classics; filled with rich, butter-laden, truffle-scented recipes. Not a book suited to dieters of those practising the art of moderation. This is a book for lovers of decadent, full-flavoured cooking and the fact that it is penned by the Roux brothers gives it that extra edge of authenticity as well as the reassurance that what you are recreating will have a spectacular end result.
French Country Cooking by Michel and Albert Roux is now available on Amazon at the special price of £17.16 (instead of the full price of £25.00) CLICK HERE to order your copy... Bon appetit mes amis!