Weekend Cooking – French Cookbooks

Last week for my Weekend Cooking post I wrote about Italian cookbooks, so this week I thought I’d stay on the Continent and write about my French cookbooks. I only have four – two over 20 years old and two more recent. Three are by British food writers and one by a French woman writer.

The first one is Floyd on France – an old book with a photo of a young (well youngish) Keith Floyd on the cover. It was published in 1987 by the BBC based on his BBC 2 series of the same name. Keith Floyd hosted many TV programmes on cooking, combining food and travel. He died last September. This book includes his personal selection of some of his favourite French dishes. They’re French provincial  recipes.

After a description of the “Principal Gastronomic Regions of France” the book follows the standard cookbook formula of recipes of Soups, Vegetables, Fish, Meat etc; recipes such as Shrimp Bisque made with live grey shrimps (I’ll never attempt that!) from Charente, a variety of omelettes, Carp in Wine Sauce from Burgundy,  Jugged Hare with Tiny Dumplings from Alsace, and Nut Tart from Perigord.

I’m going to make his Leek Pie (from Charente) tomorrow.

 (Click on the photo to see the recipe.)

Next The Frenchwoman’s Kitchen by Brigitte Tilleray, published in 1990. The brief biographical details given in the book are that she was born in Normandy and was a journalist before writing books on food. This is a beautiful book, one I love to peruse, admiring the photos of food and of France. It’s arranged by regions with information about the land and the people as well as recipes – such as Escargots Baked in a Wine Sauce from West France, Spicy Pear Pie from Normandy and Chicken with Cepes from The Pyrénéés .

French Leave by John Burton Race is an account of 2002, the year he and his family spent living in a farmhouse in the south-west of France. Another book full of beautiful photos and recipes. John is a two Michelin  star chef, who was once a sous chef at Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, before opening his own restaurants. His book follows the seasons from Autumn to Spring, with recipes such as Cauliflower Soup with Truffle Oil, Loin of Veal with Pieds de Mouton and Crepes Suzette.

And last but not least Rick Stein’s French Odyssey. This is the book of Rick’s “journey of gastronique discovery from Padstow to Bordeaux and then on to Marseille”. It’s divided into a diary section and recipe chapters arranged by courses. Rick is one of my favourite TV chefs, and I would love to eat in one of his seafood restaurants in Padstow in Cornwall. There are recipes for classic French dishes such as Vichyssoise, Bouillabaisse, Cassoulet and Tarte Tatin as well as “new takes on traditional ingredients”, such as Fillets of John Dory with Cucumber and Noilly Prat and Prune and Almond Tart with Armagnac.

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8 thoughts on “Weekend Cooking – French Cookbooks

  1. I love to read cookbooks and these look like they would be great fun. The Leek Pie recipe seems fairly easy to do. I’ve never had one but I like the taste of leeks. So, I should try it. Thanks for sharing the recipe and your great French cooking library.

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  2. I don’t know why, but I have always felt a little intimidated by French cooking. French Leave looks like the kind of book I could enjoy, however! Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Of all of the cookbooks I have, none of them are French…I need to take the leap and branch out! Have a great weekend!

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  4. Shortly after college, I enrolled in a French Cooking class at a local community college. Loved it so much that I took the second course… devoted solely to desserts. These cookbooks are gorgeous!

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  5. I love the photos of these cookbooks! Why is it that foreign cookbooks always seem far more exotic? Thank you so much for sharing!

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  6. Wow — I don’t know any of these but I want to buy them all. They are the same country but they are each unique. Argh, this feature is going to break the bank.

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