Pain au Levain, or a basic French-style sourdough

September 1, 2013
French sourdough

I used to think that sourdough had to be, well, sour … that it had to have a deep, acidic taste that almost made you wince. The more sourness, the better, and my trick was to let the dough rise for extraordinarily long periods of time, to let the acidity that’s a by-product of fermentation […]

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How to bake French-style brioche bread

April 12, 2013
French brioche bread

Baking bread. It sneaks up on you. It starts slowly, just a little experiment, maybe a curious attempt at a simple loaf. Nothing out of the ordinary, just flour, salt, yeast, water and time. You find that it works. It works better than you could ever dare believe it’d work. Your bread tastes real, substantial, […]

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Rabbit with mustard

November 25, 2012
Rabbit with mustard, or lapin a la moutarde

Rabbit is vastly under-rated. It’s cheap, tasty, plentiful and versatile, but not very widely eaten. This should change. Rabbit is a superb meat, and it deserves a wider audience because it fits well with the needs of the modern cook – it’s lean and healthy, it cooks quickly and doesn’t take a lot of preparation, […]

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How to catch, clean and cook garden snails

July 14, 2012
How to cook garden snails

The first thing to say about my very small attempt to farm garden snails for culinary purposes is that its been controversial. “It’s worse than the live crabs in the sink incident“, Jenny said, “but not as bad as the pig’s head in the fridge.” Personally, I think it’s far worse than the pig head […]

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How to make croissants

May 5, 2012
how to make croissants

They look so complicated, with their elegant crescent shape and proudly airy layers of rich pastry, tightly curled up and falling over one another. Breaking one open sends a shower of buttery flakes everywhere and leaves your fingers satisfyingly greasy. Surely, this type of baking is the preserve of the professional? Or the French? But, […]

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How to make boudin noir

November 16, 2011
How to make French Boudin Noir, or black pudding

You either love blood puddings and sausages, or you hate them. I’ve yet to find anybody who’s simply ambivalent. Sitting on the fence just doesn’t seem to apply here. There are many different versions of blood sausage – the traditional British black pudding contains oats to thicken it, the Spanish Morcella has rice, and this French […]

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