Cook books really can be a dime a dozen. There are literally hundreds being released and there really is only so much space to store them. I am a bit of a cook book junkie (not to the same extent as my friend Kay who has in excess of 300! and runs cook book club) but I have so many I don't use regularly (or ever) so I'm learning to be more discerning with what I buy. I'm going to detail some great finds here so that you can be sure you aren't getting a dud with your next cook book purchase.
When I saw that Jane Webster had released another book, I immediately emailed the publisher asking if I could somehow score a Q and A with her. Unfortunately not, but they did send me a copy of the beautiful new book French Ties (score because it was top of my list to buy), which is just as lovely as her first book, My French Table.
Jane Webster is an Aussie girl who grew up in Melbourne, and along with her husband and children, spends six months of the year living here, and six months living in the Chateau they bought in Bosgouet in Normandy. That's right- CHATEAU.
Jane runs French Table cooking tours where guests can come and stay and be taken to many gorgeous places in Normandy sourcing amazing produce. Basically it's a luxurious holiday where you get to eat amazing home cooked food, drink great wine and relax to your heart is content in the amazing chateau. If only I could go!!!
The first book was lovely and details the start of their life in France, many of the culture differences and the struggles and delights of settling in. Way back in 2009, I cooked some cheese sables from the book that turned out a treat. There's no point in having a beautiful book if the recipes disappoint. These don't.
The second book (recently been released, French Ties, goes into more detail about the family's life now that they are established, as well into significant detail about their chateau and the amazing Potager that some lucky peeps from Orange in Australia get to tend to.
Basically, it seems like a very charmed life! The pictures are envy inspiring and the recipes are a mix of simple and achievable and a little bit stunning.
|"I never imagined that my life would have changed so much in a few short years."|
Verdict: This book would be the perfect gift for any friend that is a Francophile, any foodie that loves classics like baked Camembert chicken liver pate or and anyone (me) who wants to be inspired to dream about such an idyllic existence.
|Image from French Ties: page 229|
From the book:
30 g butter
1 tablespoon plain flour
125 ml milk
tiny pinch of cayenne pepper
125 g Gruyere, grated
4 slices of sourdough bread
1 teaspoon of dijon mustard
100 g ham sliced off the bone
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat, then add the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, without letting the mixture brown. Add the milk and cook gently, stirring until thick. Add the cayenne pepper and half the cheese, stirring to combine. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Preheat an over grill to hot.
Spread 2 slice of the bread with mustard, then place the ham and remaining cheese on top. Cover with the remaining bread slices. Place on a baking tray and grill on one side for 3 minutes or until golden. Remove from the grill and turn the sandwiches over. Spread the ungrilled side with the cheese sauce, then return to the grill and cook for about 3 minutes or until golden and bubbling. Serve immediately.
SO, tell me readers, what dud cook books do you own?