Book review: French Kitchen by Serge Dansereau

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Does cooking up a sophisticated French-style dish make you hot under the collar as you contemplate the embarrassment of making a terrible kitchen faux pas?

Well, fear not ... French-Canadian Serge Dansereau, now hailed as one of Australia’s leading and most innovative chefs, is bringing the simple elegance of French cooking into our homes.

Featuring 230 classic and mouth-watering recipes, all carefully developed to be accessible for the everyday cook, French Kitchen combines expert Gallic techniques with wonderfully fresh produce and the best ingredients to show how to create flavour-filled meals every time.

Whether it’s a rich, slow-cooked meat cassoulet or clafoutis, a delicious baked dessert of black cherries, Dansereau shares his award-winning chef’s know-how and helps turn a good dish into a great one.

This fully illustrated book features chef’s notes, tips for getting the best out of cooking and helpful suggestions for seasonal variations to give flexibility in the kitchen all year round so that even amateurs will never be at a loss over what to cook.

Drawing on his years of experience in Canada and Australia, Dansereau aims to instil the confidence to substitute an ingredient here or there so you can turn a summer dish into a winter one, or adapt it to what you’ve already got in the cupboard.

With each mealtime covered, French Kitchen offers a recipe to suit any time of the day. Whether it’s a buttery brioche and roast peaches breakfast, a warming onion soup for lunch or chicken confit with mushrooms and bacon for dinner, (not forgetting a slice of chocolate and raspberry tart for dessert), there’s the chance to enjoy the style and flavours of French cooking every day.

From a lazy brunch, a Saturday lunch with the family, a child’s birthday party, dinner with friends, a summer picnic, a barbecue on the beach or a delicious high tea, there’s a recipe here for all occasions.

There is even a section on cooking for children with dishes designed to delight even the fussiest of young appetites.

All the recipes are approachable and adaptable, whatever your level of cooking skill, and each is rich in the traditions and rustic charms of French cuisine.

Bon appétit!

(Jacqui Small Publishing, hardback, £25)