This is a lovely little cookbook. Taste Le Tour Regional French Cuisine by Gabriel Gate published by Hardie Grant in 2011. It’s pretty – look at the cover, it looks like a pretty box
from an exquisite French patisserie shop. The cover is a little puffy too and this emphasises the luxury effect. It’s called Taste le Tour, as it is a book that travels through the different regions in France that the actual Tour de France bicycle race travels to. The difference being that you don’t need to be able to tackle the big race itself, you get to travel via your own cooker!
I think it’s a charming book, not only because I like pink things (!), but also because of its layout and charming illustrations by Francophile artist Antonia Pesanti. There are no photographs of the finished dishes, but there are some drawings of sweet dishes at the back. Antonia’s drawings give a delightful backdrop to the book.
Gabriel Gate is a Frenchman who trained as a chef in France before moving to Australia. He is now a cooking teacher, author and TV presenter. The food is presented in a classic format with chapters being: *Soups, Entrees and Vegetables* Fish and Seafood* Poultry and Rabbit* Beef, Lamb and Pork* and *Cakes and Desserts.
Now is the perfect time to cook from this book as July is the month of the Tour de France race. Though it would be a shame only to use it for one month of the year! The food is classically French and Gabriel’s recipes are easy to follow, I made three dishes (see below) and we liked them all. He tells you on each recipe which area it comes from. Some of the other dishes I have marked to try are: Silverbeet Gratin, Provencal Vegetable Bake, Chicken Casserole cooked in Reisling, Lamb Casserole with Green Olives, Summer Fruit Mousse and Raspberry Tartlettes. Here are the three I tried:
I made this as one big trifle. It comprises a cooked custard (crème patisserie), trifle sponges, raspberries and a little orange and Cointreau. The custard and cream are folded together for an easy trifle topping - and a delicious one too.
Prawns the Parisian Way
This should have been scallops the Parisian way, but when I went shopping there were no scallops… so prawns it was. A veloute sauce enriched with cream, egg yolk and cheese. It did indeed taste very chic and Parisiene. It was fast too. I’m going to make it again soon.
I love apricots, but they taste a whole lot better if they have been cooked. The sweet poaching liquid was flavoured with lemon, orange and vanilla. I took out some for little one, and then more or less followed the recipe by adding in a little Amaretto (instead of Armagnac). They were really delicious with or without the alcohol.
Next Review up: Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery