French food, it seems, is complex and is often placed on a pedestal. There is something about those who cook French food – they have a gift —and us regular people wouldn’t dare try. And then there’s Laura Calder. Here’s a woman who seems so down to earth that she could be your neighbour and she makes French dishes seem possible. I want Laura to be my neighbour (if only my neighbours would go on a permanent DFAIT holiday – I never see them anyway).
I made my first quiche many many years ago, back in my government days. My colleagues thought my lunch was so posh not realizing how simple it was to make, especially if one used a prepared frozen crust. After going wheat-free my quiches were naked – crustless. They were healthy and tasted so good. Quiches are versatile since one can put in whatever one wants. I digress.
It’s been some time now since I first saw Laura Calder’s show on the Food Network. French Food at Home was on around dinnertime and if The Honey was late getting home, I’d switch it on. Like I said, Calder seems like she could be your neighbour – she’s friendly, genuine, explains everything, and takes some of the mystery out of French cooking. Even the simple things seem complex until Calder does it. At a store one day I found French Taste, Calder’s second cookbook (after French Food at Home) and I became even more intrigued by French cooking.
I’ve been surprised by the ease of some of these recipes and they taste just as I expected – delicious. French Taste contains many recipes from her show so sometimes I remember it when I’m flipping through the cookbook or I’ll pull it out after Calder has made it, enticing my taste buds.
Chicken & Pepper – so full of flavour
Parmesan Flan – a great light dinner with a salad
Parmesan Salad – perfect to take advantage of my abundant parsley pots
Tilapia with Olives – strong flavour, but so out of the ordinary
There aren’t many photographs, which would take this cookbook from wonderful to perfect. But I still enjoy flipping through it. And the photographs that are there are beautiful. Somehow, I can envision what the recipe will look like, and that doesn’t happen too often.
With Laura Calder around to help me with French cooking I don’t feel the need to master it with Julia Child
P.S. If anyone knows where Laura got her kitchen sink (on her show), let me know. I’m in love with it (corny; yes, I know)