Saturday, June 23, 2012

Cookbook Review - French Food at Home - Laura Calder

Pal Fried (Hungarian/American, 20th century), "Girl in Front of a Busy Paris Cafe", c. 1940
 After making another of her amazing recipes last night I have decided to do a review of Laura Calder's French Food at Home.

Soft backed Copy - the one I have

I fell in love with Laura Calder's style and food when I watched one of her cooking shows on TV.  Laura has such a huge personality and it comes through in her cooking and writing. I love this book for the way it is written, the recipes and the way everything just works together.

Laura writes exactly how she presents - funny, witty and engagingly.  The entire book is devoted to recipes that have a distinct French feel and Laura discusses how these recipes would fit into the everyday diet and menu of a French person.  All of the recipes in this book come with a little story attached as well as wine and menu suggestions and occasionally ideas for using the same recipe but with different ingredients.  This is very handy as once you have the technique down for the recipe - which are all pretty simple - you can create a wide number of variations.

The book is divided up into the following chapters:

  • Introduction
  • Aperitifs
  • First Courses
  • Dinner Fairly Fast
  • Dinner Slightly Slower
  • Side Dishes
  • Desserts

All of the dishes I have tried come from Aperitifs, First Courses, Dinner Fairly Fast and Dinner Fairly Slower.  I find that as I am only cooking for my husband and I - I only need to create one main item and we usually have that with a salad or cheese before etc.  However - last nights meal - Leek Tart - of which I halved the ingredients for - should ave served 3-4 but we ate it all ourselves!  So it seems that the serving size is probably very French too - something I am yet to master.

As a vegetarian (who occasionally will eat seafood) I also find that the four chapters that I have cooked from offer enough scope and variation that do not feel as I do with some books, that I have wasted my money.

The recipes that I have made so far are:

Parmesan Tuiles - from Lifestyle Food website - see right

My Mum has also made her Bistro Chicken (and even though she is now vegetarian) raves about how easy and yummy it is.  Everything that I have made has turned out to be delicious.  I have even managed to master what I originally thought were some very Frenchified and difficult techniques - such as making a court bouillon.

This is a book that I would highly recommend to anyone who is interested in French Food or the way that French people eat.  I bought my copy from here.

Laura has published two other books - see her website below for more details.


Here is the link to her great website which has bio information as well as her own blog.
Here is a link to the Lifestyle Food channel website where I first saw her on TV.  You can find some of her recipes there ) - 116 of them!.

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