French food, home style. The message that chef Manu Feildel wants us to take from his latest cook book is that making beautiful French cuisine doesn’t have to be a near impossible feat. And the good news is, he’s right.
Yes, he’s the expert, and he should be right. But sometimes a cook book promises so much and just doesn’t deliver. We’ve all been there: trying a dish for the first time, certain it will be delicious and perfect, and it fails. At best, it becomes a night for eggs on toast; at worst, you’re left ordering pizza at your dinner party while the guests laugh at your efforts.
You can imagine my delight, then, when I took a risk on Manu and made some dishes from Manu’s French Kitchen for the first time when I was expecting a dozen guests. They turned out perfectly: flavours to die for, and presentation just as they looked in the book. Even the pastry was perfect, and I’m known for ruining pastry. Phew.
I made a few other dishes that day, but by far the greatest comments (and requests for second servings) were for Manu’s recipes.
This book is filled with the food Manu grew up with, the dishes his mother cooked in his childhood. They’re basic but never boring, simple yet flavoursome, classic without being daggy.
I love its stunning photography, its modern take on home-style dishes, the menu suggestions for the perfect dinner party, and the surprises in store when you next bake. This is Quiche Lorraine like you’ve never tasted before, sauces and side dishes to crave, melt-in-your-mouth pastries, desserts that you thought could only be found in a lovely little café, home-cooked food that will warm and comfort you to your core.
This book is personal for Manu, featuring photographs and mentions of his family who so obviously inspire his work. In the introduction he says, “Every recipe is included because it’s for a dish that makes me happy when I cook and eat it, and because it just tastes great.” Agreed.
Filled with fresh flavours, beautiful produce (that’s easily found), and impressive meals to serve to your friends, this book is a new firm favourite.