Cook
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A relaxed friendly hands-on cooking holiday in the Dordogne, France
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Cookery Books

Chef, Jim Fisher reviews "The Food of France - a regional celebration" by Sarah Woodward...

With a foreword by none other than master chef Raymond Blanc my hopes were high that this would not only be a quality cookery book, but that the recipes were likely to be authentic.

Well, I haven't been disappointed: this well laid out, lusciously photographed book is jam packed with classic and regional French dishes.

Brought to life in a style vaguely reminiscent of the great Elizabeth David, this is a book to read outdoors on a sunny terrace with a glass of Cab' Sav' in your hand.

The Author...

Sarah Woodward was brought up in Belgium and spent her early twenties in Paris working at Les Caves de la Madeleine, one of the most highly regarded wine shops in the city. She now spends half her time at her home in a remote village in the Pyrenees.

The Recipes...

Although the book covers all the major regions of France from Paris to Provence, my main focus was, of course, the Dordogne (part of Aquitaine) where our cooking courses and holidays are located.

Dishes such as Salade de Perigueux (Foie Gras, haricots verts, walnuts and walnut oil), Lapin aux Pruneaux (Rabbit with Prunes), St Emilions au Chocolat (a cake of ganache and Amaretti biscuits) abound along with side panels featuring snippets and stories on local subjects specific to the region covered.

I'm slowly working my way through the easy to follow recipes and have even incorporated some of them into our weekly curriculum. Dishes like Aillade (a walnut based sauce close to Pesto), La Salade de Peches Blanches et Tomates (white peach and tomato salad) and, my personal favourite, Tartiflette.

Now, I have to confess that Tartiflette isn't actually a Dordogne dish (it's mentioned in the "Alps" section of the book), but what it lacks in regional legitimacy is easily made up for in personality. Given a love which borders on dependency for rich hearty potato dishes, the Dordognais would be proud.

Here's the recipe as taken from "The Food of France"...

Tartiflette

This is a truly indulgent dish, which is best appreciated after a strenuous morning on the ski-slopes — or at least a brisk winter’s morning walk. It is important to use a ripe Reblochon, preferably bought a few days in advance and left to reach maturity out of the fridge. For this to happen, it should be unpasteurized. Of course, if you have a good cheesemonger you will be able to buy one ripe and ready to eat.

Serves 4

1.5kg medium-sized red potatoes, such as Desirée
1 large white onion, peeled and diced
2 thick rashers of smoked streaky bacon, diced
25g butter
1 garlic clove, peeled and cut in half
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 ripe Reblochon cheese

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 5.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the potatoes whole, in their skins, for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the onion and bacon in the butter in a heavy frying pan over a medium heat; they should sweat but not brown.

Drain the potatoes and as soon as they are cool enough to handle peel them — the quicker the better. Slice thickly across.

Choose an ovenproof earthenware dish and rub it well with the out halves of garlic. Layer half the sliced potatoes across the base, season, then scatter over the onion and bacon mixture. Add the remaining potatoes and more seasoning.

Place the whole Reblochon on top. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 180C/350’F/gas mark 4 for a further 20—25 minutes. The Reblochon should melt within its skin and the fat drip down while the potatoes crisp.

All you need is a green salad to go with it.

Conclusion...

A great read and a mouthwatering collection of regional French recipes.

Buy a copy of Sarah Woodward's "The Food of France"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





       

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5 Day/5 Night Cooking Courses Include:

  • Expert hands-on tuition with British chef

  • All courses conducted in English

  • All cooking ingredients, equipment and aprons

  • A continental breakfast each day

  • Lunch each day

  • Dinner
    (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday)

  • Tea, coffee and wine

  • An evening meal on the day of your arrival

  • En suite centrally-heated accommodation

  • Recipe pack containing all the dishes cooked during your stay

  • Entrance fees to places visited

  • Private and secluded pool

  • Internet and Email


  • Want to be sure? Read our great testimonials

    Some of the things you'll be doing on the cooking course:

    Learn how to cook pastries, breads and soups

    Select and prepare the best fish and shellfish

    Butcher common joints of meat

    Cook classic French and Italian sauces

    Construct modern dressings

    Master the art of stylish contemporary food presentation