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    You are in: Home / Cookbooks / Ooh la la! All things FUN and FRENCH!
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    Ooh la la! All things FUN and FRENCH!

    Mais oui! Fun and French! Posted for the French leg of the amazing ZWT5 journey - please stop by my place in the Charente Maritime for aperos and nibbles! ALL welcome. A plus tard! Cou cou!

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    This is a wonderful, light summery dessert, which never fails to please my guests, as well as my family and friends! Fresh peaches are soaked in sweet Sauternes with angelica leaves and lavender flowers tucked amongst them. Angelica is an interesting, aromatic tasting herb, and although I normally only use the stems to candy or crystallise (Recipe #248003) I have discovered that the leaves also make a great accompaniment when used with fresh fruit. Try to serve this fresh fruit salad in a large clear glass bowl for maximum impact; it just looks so pretty with the light shining through the fruit, juices and herbs! I find that the only thing that is needed to serve this is a good dollop of crème fraiche. I have also made this with apricots and melon for a slight change. I like to use a combination of white and yellow peaches for this recipe – but please use local and fresh peaches regional to your area. Prep time includes the minimum "soaking" time. I have not tried this with tinned peaches, but suspect that they may be too "soft" to hold their shape for prolonged soaking.

    Recipe #382163

    A classic French Bistro recipe, and one that is SO easy to cook; the lamb in this recipe is cooked after 5 or 6 hours, but 7 hours is the traditional French timing for 'gigot a la cuillère' - a joint that can be carved with a spoon, hence its name! You will need a very large ovenproof casserole with a lid or a large, deep roasting tin, which you can cover tightly with tin foil - or, this can be cooked with GREAT success in the crock-pot. This lamb is just divine when served alongside gratin Dauphinoise and steamed haricots verts. I add lots of garlic for quite a pungent flavour - adjust the garlic and seasonings to personal taste.

    Recipe #281177

    These are one of my favourite French cakes; delicate little light sponge cakes, baked in special fluted trays and sprinkled lightly with icing sugar, so elegant, light and airy! Some are flavoured with vanilla extract only, whilst other recipes suggest using lemon or orange; my recipe uses a combination of vanilla extract and lemon. These are ideal served with afternoon coffee or with a glass of dessert wine after a meal, just as the French serve them. You can also dip the tips into melted chocolate, but I prefer mine to be a little more subtle - but it is up to you!

    Recipe #338454

    Ooh la la! Let's do the can-can, have our canapés and eat them with wild high-kicking abandon! The full flavour and creamy texture of Boursin cheese makes an ideal ingredient for party nibbles. These bruschetta are quick and easy to prepare and hit the nibbles and aperitifs spot! High kicks and dancing are not compulsory, as you might spill your drink and drop your bruschetta!

    Recipe #372253

    A delicious and lucky discovery, I found this recipe in a Maille (pronounced "My" ) French Mustard leaflet.This recipe has been slightly adapted to suit our own personal tastes.It's very easy to prepare and is a winning French classic; wonderful when served with chunky chips (fries) and grilled tomatoes for a hearty Bistro style main course. Sacré Bleu!!

    Recipe #372169

    Entrecote Bordelaise is a French classic, impressive yet simple to prepare - it is a very chic way to serve a steak! Here are my easy step by step instructions for a perfect Entrecote Bordelaise! Serve with sauté potatoes or frites and haricots verts......and a good bottle of Saint Emilion, from the little Medieval town just to the east of Bordeaux.

    Recipe #234065

    My two versions of this classic French café/bistro sandwich - oven baked for large quantities and ease.......or, the traditional frying pan/skillet method! You can always rely upon the French to add a certain "je ne sais quoi" to even the simplest food ...including the humble cheese and ham sandwich. The croque-monsieur (which becomes a croque-madame if you top it with a fried egg) is a great favourite in French cafés & bistros, and there are as many methods of crafting it as there are cafés! This one works for me. But, please be warned ... it's not for calorie-counters, the Cholesterol Police or those of a nervous disposition!!

    Recipe #234010

    Our own Auberge de la Fontaine Lavender Pancakes - these are made with home-grown organic lavender flowers from our garden here in SW France, where we often serve them for breakfast! They also make a very elegant dessert when served with cream and fruit - I sometimes serve them with Recipe #241775. If you cannot get hold of culinary lavender, these pancakes are just fine if served with the lavender honey, butter and/or cream and fresh fruit.

    Recipe #247657

    A traditional style baguette de Campagne - rustic French bread, which is easy to make and has lots of body - it is NOT like the usual light, supermarket produced baguettes of today. This bread can be started off in a bread machine if you wish. Marianne is the national symbol of France; she personifies Liberty, Reason & the Triumph of the Republic. She appears on stamps, government forms, town halls, law courts and the former French franc coins & banknotes; she even appears on high quality Label Rouge Baguettes and Pain!! Therefore, I have called this homemade French Bread/Baguette recipe after her.....it seems only right and proper!

    Recipe #235909

    A delicious combination of peas, onions and lettuce which are gently poached in a buttery sauce with crème fraiche and vegetable stock; this classic French recipe is a wonderful way to serve tender little peas, petits pois. This recipe makes a delightful accompaniment to any type of main meal, and adds a real splash of colour. I have stated fresh OR frozen peas in the recipe - frozen peas can be used to great effect out of season. In the absence of small silverskin onions, spring onions (green onions) can be used, making this a very versatile recipe to serve throughout the year. Cut back on the butter if you are on a low fat diet - the taste will be less rich, but still as delicious!

    Recipe #297872

    Another one of my savoury "cake" recipes from France. This recipe is slightly more substantial than my Recipe #316039, as this recipe contains ham with white wine and port! Serve this as alternative sandwich bread or as a light snack spread with cream cheese or butter. This cake recipe will also make fantastic little appetisers if the loaf is cut into small cubes and served with olives, cubes of cheese and savoury spreads. Please note that the texture of this savoury cake is NOT like a sweet dessert cake - it will be slightly holey with a robust and slightly chewy texture, almost like sourdough.

    Recipe #316045

    An easy and delicious chicken dish with a few elegant touches here and there! The chicken is jointed (cut into pieces), sauteed and then grilled like a potato gratin in a sauce of cognac, wine, mustard and cheese. Serve this with a crisp fresh salad and pasta, or with seasonal steamed vegetables and rice. You can omit the cognac and wine and use apple juice if you wish - the taste will not be as sophisticated, deep or intense, but the chicken could be served to children this way! An ideal dinner party recipe or Valentine's day meal for two - just reduce the ingredients, or make the full amount and freeze the remaining portions. Recommended wine: Saumur Champigny.

    Recipe #314884

    Méli-Mélo is a wonderful French word which simply translated means a mixture, medley, assortment. selection or to use the old English word, a Muddle! This is a simple and yet stunning tomato salad, which relies heavily on assorted sun-ripened tomatoes, sea salt, herbs and good olive oil. It makes a "stand-alone" meal or a wonderful accompaniment. The tomatoes I used in the salad in my photographs were good old fashioned heirloom tomatoes called: Pineapple (yellow and mottled red inside - sweet and fruity flavoured), Black Krim (black-ish skin and dark purple inside - tangy taste), Marmande (Traditional French toms with a beefy taste and texture), Brandywine (dark Bordeaux colour with superb flavour), Moneymaker (traditional English toms - a gardener's favourite - full of flavour) and Auriga (medium orange tom with a sharp and tangy flavour). Try to use a selection of different shapes, colours and flavours when you make this salad. Do NOT omit the salting process – it is essential to this recipe as it brings out the flavours to their fullest……trust me; this salad is NOT salty as the salt drains away with the excess tomato juices! Serve this with grilled artisanal breads such as boule, couronne, ciabatta, cottage loaf, home-made breads or crusty rolls. Grilled cheese or fresh goat’s cheese is also a wonderful addition to this salad. Alternatively, serve it alongside grilled or barbecued meats or with pasties, pies or quiches – it really is simply delicious just by itself however!

    Recipe #322018

    I adore moules, mussels, and this is the classic French recipe for them. Moules Marinières is also commonly known as Sailor's mussels or Mariner's mussels. The dish consists of delicately steamed fresh mussels in a white wine, garlic, parsley, butter, onion and cream sauce. Moules Marinières can be served as an appetising starter or even a light main meal. It is delicious served with fresh crusty bread or with frites (chips/fries). There is nothing more mouth-watering than a huge bowl of artistically presented mussels, yet the fun part is eating them. The best way is to use an empty mussel shell as the "spoon" in which to pick the remaining mussels from their shells and then eat them. It's a brilliant excuse to use your fingers to eat rather than the usual knife and for - very tactile! A traditional French recipe will use butter, however the butter may be substituted for a few tablespoons of olive oil for a healthier option - I sometimes use a mix of butter and olive oil I hope you find the step-by-step photos helpful, this recipe was used in the September 2008 Cooking School for the TOTM - hopefully, the photos will debunk the myth that mussels are hard to prepare and cook, NOT so! Bon Appétit!

    Recipe #326393

    An appetiser and aperitif all in one sunny melon bowl - I use the local Pineau des Charentes to fill up these charentais melon starters, but white port, fino sherry or any fortified wine would be just as good. Charentais melons are grown mainly in SW France and Spain and have a smooth pale green to creamy yellow skin. The very juicy flesh is deep orange in colour and it is one of the best dessert melons; they are also great in fruit salads, as well as being used as a refreshing starter course - as in this recipe. Preparation time includes the 4 hours to chill prior to serving them. If you cannot get fresh mint sprigs - use any attractive, edible leaves or herbs - maybe even a flower.

    Recipe #317396

    A classic with a twist - I like to add a splash or three of Tabasco sauce to my shallot and red wine vinegar Mignonette sauce, for that extra zap! This is easy to make and is even better if you let the oysters marinate in the sauce for ten to fifteen minutes before serving them. I also like my oysters au natural with just a squeeze of lemon, but variety is the spice of life, and this makes an exciting change! The quantities listed below will be sufficient for between 12 large and 24 small oysters.

    Recipe #356177


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