Following our lovely week in Paris, I was feeling the need to try some French cooking of my own. Having given up chocolate for lent (with less of a spiritual reason than one of willpower and weight loss) I was actually not craving it as much as I'd thought and hence, when asked by my mum and gran whether I actually wanted an Easter egg, I found myself saying no. What I was given instead was something much more rewarding: both volumes of Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child which I, like I imagine many British foodies types were, was introduced to via the wonderful blog/film/book Julie and Julia. I read the book a couple of weeks ago after re-watching the film and whilst I feel no desire whatsoever to cook my way through every recipe (no offense Julie Powell, great admiration for your achievement) there are definitely quite a few in there that are worth a try. Including my chosen inaugural recipe: Boeuf Bourguignon.
If you have never looked at MtAoFC, it is worth pointing out that the recipes are very detailed sometimes to the point of feeling fussy but, as with Delia, it appears that if you follow them and possess the necessary skills (and we're mostly talking basic culinary skills) you get something truly delicious.
I ate Boeuf Bourguignon twice whilst in France because it was so delicious and vowed to cook it as soon as possible upon return. So on Monday I went forth with my shopping bag to the Covered Market and began, at about 3 o'clock, to cook...
4 hours - and quite a bit of draining, sauteing, flouring and bubbling later - we were greeted with a heavenly smell from the cassarole dish. I was extremely gratified to note that the aromas coming my way were astonishingly similar to what I'd eaten in France as was the taste which was deep and wine-y, with the lovely flavours of all the various vegetables. And, it's one of those fantastic meals that just keeps getting better and the recipe, although I altered it to feed 4 instead of 6 was still enough for supper for 4, lunch and dinner for me yesterday and, lunch today as well (which considering we seem to be experiencing a bit an epic downpour at the moment is definitely a good thing...). Well, as my mum pointed out, the recipe was written for American appetites which do have a reputation for being a tad larger than the average British one...!