20 August, 2008

About

This blog has no pretentions to be anything other than a bunch of recipes. It started out in 1997 as an occasional email to friends, graduated to a website in 1999, and moved to a blog in February 2007.

The cook

I was born in Yorkshire, spent 40 years in the UK, and moved to southern France in 1997. I was briefly a vegetarian until a holiday in France caused a relapse. Repertoire: essentially European (and specifically Mediterranean) cuisine, with a weakness for English puddings. I love Italian food and should cook more of it. Youthful experiments with Indian and Oriental cuisine were soon abandoned.

To contact me by email: veronica[AT]larecettedujour[DOT]org. Comments and suggestions for recipes welcome — and if you cook any of the recipes, please leave a comment telling me what you thought!

The kitchen

Like any keen cooks, we’d love a large kitchen. For five years our kitchen was about 2 square metres in a corner of our living room. We had a cramped 3-burner gas stove with an oven the size of a large biscuit tin and erratic temperature controls, and a worktop consisting of the top of the fridge. Still, we managed to cook fine food for up to ten people, by restricting ourselves to things we knew the cooker could cope with. We’ve since completely revamped the kitchen, but it’s still essentially part of our living room and limited in size. For this reason many of the recipes here are designed to provide for hassle-free entertaning, where most of the preparation can be done in advance and conversation over pre-dinner drinks is not drowned by the cook crashing around in the kitchen.

The kit

To cook good food all you really need is good pans and sharp knives. Our basic kit consists of stainless steel pans, enamelled cast-iron casseroles, one huge enamel faitout, and many of those Spanish earthenware gratin dishes. These are great — you can even fry in them on top of the stove, and if you burn stuff on, just soak overnight and the debris will float off; who needs non-stick coatings? They’ll crack or craze eventually, but they only cost a couple of pounds each, so just buy another one.

Small kitchens mean gadgets have to earn their place. I’m not a gadget fan anyway; most don’t justify the space they take up and the time involved in assembling, disassembling, cleaning and putting away. The only ones I use regularly are a hand-held electric whisk, and an Italian espresso machine. The food processor and pressure cooker live in cupboards and are only brought out very occasionally. So all recipes here can be prepared with minimal equipment.

Edit 2015: the food processor broke and I didn’t replace it. I bought a Bosch stand mixer instead, mainly for bread-making purposes. It turns out I don’t use it that much for this purpose, but it very surprisingly has an excellent grating and slicing attachment, better than the food processor and much easier to clean. I found a corner for it on the worktop.

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