How to cook like the French {day five}

French food doesn’t have to be complicated, and that’s a promise. If I managed to learn how to cook from scratch having never boiled an egg before my 21st birthday, anyone can do it.

 

My aim today is two-fold: one, to reassure you that you can learn how to cook French food and two, to send you into bookshops and across the internet feeling informed and armed with personal recommendations.

 

{day five} How to cook like the French

 

Cooking French food might feel like a daunting task. You may have dined in a French restaurant and eaten very ‘cheffy’ dishes you couldn’t imagine making at home. Let me just reassure you that French people don’t cook or eat like this every day. Sure, we have all grown up eating many traditional recipes, but it is not the sort of food you would usually be served in a restaurant outside of France. Below are a few links to help you get started.

French Recipes on this Blog

I am by no means a fantastic cook, for one thing, I just don’t have time to spend my life in the kitchen. I do get a bit obsessed about food though, and I occasionally share recipes I have tried at home. I get homesick for French food on a regular basis and so I like to collect French recipe books of all sorts to try to get back to the scents and tastes that remind me of my childhood. Have a look around in the Recipes category, or just go straight to the following:

French Recipes on the Internet

There are many French food websites and blogs you can follow, but it can be difficult to see the wood for the trees in this abundance of plenty. I am not going to overwhelm you with many links, because you don’t need hundreds, you need a couple at best.
  • My go-to food blog has been Franglaise Cooking, they have a lot of brilliant family recipes that are delicious and easy to make. The hazelnut macarons alone make it worth a visit. But I can also recommend le Coin de Mel (I am planning on making her classic Petit Salé aux lentilles very soon) and Croque-Maman.

French Cookery Books

1. I shared my top 5 favourite cook books a couple of years’ back, and it included a couple you will see listed below for the very good reason that they are fabulous. This chicken stew recipe that is on the blog comes directly from the enormous ‘2000 recettes de la cuisine française‘ recipe book, but it’s not much use if you can’t speak the language.

 

2. Rachel Khoo‘s The Little Paris Kitchen has been translated into French, which is as positive an endorsement as you can wish for! I don’t own this book but I watched the accompanying BBC TV series religiously and I recommend it on the basis that it was inspiring and made me very hungry. Rachel had a TINY kitchen in Paris, and yet she managed to produce some outstanding recipes.

 

3. If you’re looking for a solid modern book on French cooking, then Michel Roux (both Senior and Junior) are French chefs based in the UK. Their books are in English and are accessible to the common cook but they are classically trained chefs with all the solid knowledge that entails so you are in good hands.

4. There is also a French chef called Stéphane Reynaud who has created the most beautiful cookery books I have ever seen. They are all translated into American English, so you get references to capsicum instead of peppers, which took a bit of getting used to but otherwise, the books are GORGEOUS. Not only do you get delicious recipes, but also beautiful and funny illustrations, songs, history lessons, lists (lists!) of different wines, cheeses, what goes with what etc. I have the following two:

  • Ripailles, which offers 299 French traditional recipes
  • Rôtis, which is all about roast meat

Bonus: watch a film about cooking!

To get yourself in the mood, everyone should watch Julie and Julia [DVD] [2010]
featuring Amy Adams and Meryl Streep, a fab film about food and Julia Child, the author of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. If you’re not hungry by the end of it, you’re not human.

 

In other news, I’ve decided that as part of the 31 days challenge, I will post one classic French recipe every Friday that I have personally made at home. It will be easy and affordable and hopefully inspire you to check out French cooking without fearing having to go full Julia Child and start boiling pigs trotters to make your own gelatine.
31 days button - Frenchify your life # font x400
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11 thoughts on “How to cook like the French {day five}

  1. What an appropriate post! I snapped pics of our dinner from Saturday night. I prepared a French meal for Bonaparte and am going to write about it later on. May I sneak a link to this post into mine?

  2. When I was in France a few years ago, I had the most delicious chocolate torte/cake made with chestnuts. I never been able to find a recipe that replicated it … or if they are in French, they never made it in my google searches. French desserts and bread have to be one of my favourite part of visiting France. 🙂

    • Chestnut desserts are traditional in central France like the Creuse and the Auvergne, where there are a lot of chestnut trees. They even have chestnut festivals! I guess in terms of seasonal fares, it’s the French equivalent of pumpkins.

      I could have a look around for a decent recipe if you would like. You should try googling pictures of ‘gateau au marrons’ and email me the link to the one that most looks like what you ate, and I can have a look, find a recipe, translate it and feature it on the blog! It’s the season for chestnuts! There’s also a very nice chestnut and chocolate cupcake recipe on bbcgoodfood.com that I make every Christmas.

    • Miss Bougie says:

      I have a recipe for a chocolate / crème de marrons cake. It’s in French, but I’ll translate it for you. Would you be interested, Meaghan?

  3. I just jumped over from the write31days page. What a great topic. I have a delightful, tiny book called “French Cooking in Ten Minutes” that is as much fun to read as it is to cook from. Looking forward to visiting more!

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