Is it the evocative photographs – all nick-knack laden white dressers, French rusticity, market scenes, and sun-dabbled patio tables that make this book so ‘delicious’ or simply the ease, simplicity and freshness of the recipes?
It is a touch of both of course. Any cookbook that imparts such a strong identity of place with superb photos like the fresh salad leaves in a white colander, the one of a corner of a room with wooden kitchen utensils in an earthen-ware jar or the two French sticks on a magnificent old butchers block has my heart from the moment it is flicked through. Add in a selection of recipes that produce near effortless delicious results and you have a near prefect recipe book.
The recipes are relatively simple, as one would expect with bistro style foods. It is one of the few cookbooks that I’ve returned to several times – the Beef and Potato gratin is on tonight’s menu, last week it was the pork chops with piquant sauce and the chicken with tarragon that tantalised the palate. The Braised Red Cabbage with chestnuts and apples with accompanying sausages is to feature with a wine match on spittoon as soon as red cabbages make it back to the Waitrose shelf… and I can’t wait to try out the Walnut Cake either.
“Traditional bistro fare is the essence of French country cooking. For the4most part, bistro menus often mimic the kinds of meals prepared in homes, using local ingredients and seasonal produce – it’s not expensive or complicated and it never goes out of style. Laura Washburn’s recipes for classic French country dishes offer home cooks simple ideas for good, honest food.”
The French Country Table: Simple Recipes for Bistro Classics is available from Amazon.co.uk for £11.04.