For years, Belfast-born Trish Deseine was probably better known in her adopted country of France than over here, winning many plaudits for books like Je Veux du Chocolate (well worth picking up online) and Ma Petite Robe Noire. But she’s got plenty to offer to an Irish audience, and it all comes with a suitably French twist.
In French Kitchen chapters are simple and self-explanatory, with titles like Fast, Slow, Raw, Larder, Posh and Sweet. Deseine is not hide-bound by tradtion: a Easy (and very Lazy) Cassoulet makes its way into the Fast chapter and Poulet Yassa comes from the former French colony of Sengal. Her Tomato Tatin is actually a sweet dish, challenging you to see tomato as a fruit, and there’s a easy deconstructed Strawberry Millefeuille.
She’s got lots of great recipes which involve good marketing and simple assembly: Café Gourmand combines a simple chocolate mousse with good bought brownies or macaroons, a lentil soup – Velouté de Lentilles du Puy – is taken upmarket with the addition of double cream and served with Toulouse sausages or confit de canard for a satisfying meal.
There are ideas here for all seasons. I’m waiting for colder weather to get stuck into the delectable-sounding Apples Baked with Camembert and my worktop is landen with the makings of Deseine’s Summer Salad in a Loaf for tonight’s al fresco dinner. My attention is always grabbed by offal recipes and her Kidneys with Mustard Cream and Celeriac Mash and Lamb’s Liver with Tomatoes, Beetroot and Parsley are on the must try list. Information on ingredients and producers is scattered throughout the book so that you can learn about organic vegetables in France, black truffles, sel de Guérande and the celebrated millefeuille from Cancale. A satisfying read with plenty of new ideas.
Must try: Chicory and Beer Soup, Milk Creams with Rose and Cardamom, Totally Chocolate Tart
Trish’s French Kitchen by Trish Deseine is published by Kyle Books. Thanks to the publisher for the review copy. Also check out her Chocolate by Trish website for some more recipes.