French Friday

Brussels Sprouts with Prosciutto

When buying Brussels sprouts, choose those which are firm and don’t have withered leaves. Overcooking this vegetable can result in an unpleasant flavour, so if boiling, remove them from the pot when they are just tender.

Apple and Almond Galette

This apple and almond galette looks impressive when care is taken to assemble the layers of sliced apple. This galette is found in all French patisseries, and is sold as small pieces or as larger dinner plate size desserts. Puff pastry is what I have used for this recipe.

Provencal Roasted Artichoke and Fennel

Both artichokes and fennel take on the beautiful flavours of the herbs added to this delightful side dish.

Quatre Epices Glazed Carrots and Beans

Quqtre epices is a spice mix used often in French cuisine.   It is considered a French all spice. The name means “four spices”, but there are often five or six spices used in this blend. It is an unusual combination of savoury and sweet, but worth trying with beans and carrots, which sometimes need a little extra to make them appealing.

French Easter Bells

In France, one of the main Easter traditions are bells. Legend has it that the Thursday before Easter, church bells across France are silenced to mourn the death of Christ and they remain silent until Easter Sunday. The bells would fly to Rome to be blessed by the Pope. They would then begin their journey back to the French churches, but would pick up eggs along the way before scattering them into the gardens. The bells would then ring on Easter Sunday to announce the Resurrection of Christ and therefore ‘return’. So in France it is the bells rather than the Easter bunny who delivers the Easter eggs.

The French use a lot of fresh herbs for their Easter cooking, so often, Easter eggs are laid out onto a bed of freshly picked herbs from the garden.

Ratatouille Nicoise

This combination of simple vegetables, was originally prepared by the poorer French farmers near Nice, with fresh summer vegetables tossed in vinegar and oil.

Although there is no precise recipe, eggplant and zucchini are always used in this dish.

There are many different versions of Ratatouille, but here we have a basic and simple one for you to try. I found it really satisfying and rewarding to go out and pick everything from my garden, except the red onion which came from a neighbour’s garden.

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