First let me say that this book is simply brilliant and a joy. As a child getting me to eat any vegetable beyond peas & corn, was a truly uphill battle, and my french mother, was a wonderful and gifted cook. Yet for me they remained the evil, one must tolerate, and I was often known to pose a knife or spoon under the edge of my plate to tilt it and keep the darned vegetable juices, from tainting my delicious and favorite meat dishes. My mother must now be enjoying & having the last laugh....... I have come to really love and enjoy vegetables; and as a personal-chef, I love finding more and more of preparing and savouring these gifts of nature !!! This book is a true gift, wonder-full recipes with so many inventive, intelligent, ideas, and yet all based in solid tradition, the basics enhanced. And, not at all difficult, or with impossible to find ingredients. Dishes like "Green Bean,Red Rice, and Almond Salad" , "Tomato Mustard Tart" , "Courgette & Apricot Socca Tart" , "Yogurt Mousse with Raspberries" , and the stunning and delightful " Shocking Pink Pasta" !!!!! ( and these are just the ones I've tried so far). All this wrapped in the Totally satisfying writing of Clotilde Dusoulier, I've been reading her blog and other books for some time now, and am always informed and delighted. I always have the sense of having her pay a visit and simply sitting around chatting over coffee, and yet learning so much in the process. Guy Savoy, ( Michelin starred French Chef) once said.. " Food is more than ingredients, it is a combination of history, emotion, craft, and tradition....... what is in front of you on the plate, is most anxious to reveal all of this" That is definitely true about Clotilde and this brilliant, wonder-full book. Do yourself, and those around you, a favor. Get this book !!!!!!
Interesting recipes, but not what I had in mind when I bought the book. My fault completely. I saw "French market" and "seasonal recipes", and living in France as I do, somehow expected simple, down-to-earth recipes to make the best out of the seasonal produce one might find at the local market.
And although the book does indeed offer seasonal recipes, I clearly overlooked the "Parisian Kitchen" part of the title, which pretty much defines the approach to be found inside. I'm guessing part of my confusion had something to do with the interpretation of "French cooking", which is not the same if you've been living in France for some time and have come to accept the cooking as normal/homely (not all French cuisine is refined and elegant; look up their Hachis parmentiers [Shepherd's pies] or hearty, winter stews and you'll see what I mean) or you're living in the U.S./UK, looking for fancy French recipes to add a touch of sophistication to your cuisine.
After having received the book and taken a good look (and eventually, looked up the author), I realised my mistake. The book isn't bad if you're looking for vegetarian dishes to impress guests with (I've decided to keep the book for just that purpose), but not what I had in mind when I bought it (my bad, once again). The recipes are generally fairly elaborate and time consuming. Many of them look delicious, but more on the fancy, bourgeois side - not particularly the kind of thing I'd usually prepare. Don't get me wrong, I'm a seasoned cook and adore cooking (a glass of red wine, soothing music, and savour the process kind of cook), but am more partial to simple, home-made recipes without the visual pizazz, long names and small portions on over-sized plates, and the recipe herein aren't really the kind one might prepare on a daily/regular basis (simple but creative ways to mix and prepare seasonal veggies).
What you're paying for here is the trendy Parisian element. It's a small-ish format, cute-looking book. There are roughly 14-15 recipes per season, plus about 5-6 seasonal deserts added in. By my count, that's about one recipe for every 6 days, or in other words, enough for one dinner party a week ;) (which feels pretty much like the book's target)
If that's what you're after, you should be fairly pleased. In my case, I think I'm going to be leaning more towards Mediterranean cooking (Spanish, Italian, Greek), which is more in line with my idea of a simple, healthy, tasty, day-to-day vegetarian cuisine.
I gave this book to a friend for her birthday and she loved it! It is a nice change from regular French cookbooks (which can be heavily meat-based) and it gives in-season recipes. It contains lovely photos and inspiring stories about Clotilde's life in France. Recommended.
For anyone with access to the wonderful seasonal food as we find in French markets, this book is full of great recipes. I would recommend it to anyone on holiday in France, or living here, lots of fresh ideas, and available on Kindle too!