I was Inspired by a TV cooking series to offer three copies of this book.Last month sometime I was sent a link to a cookery programme about the Dordogne. It was brilliant, and it turns out the programme was part of an ITV series: “James Martin’s French Adventure”
James Martin trained as a chef in France as a youngster, and his love of France, and of Frenchness, is obvious. He knows they’re mental, and loves them for it. It’s a very Chain Gang view of the French. I was hooked, and watched episodes based in Provence, Normandy, Bordeaux, Languedoc, Jura and Charente, among others.
If you get the chance, have a look, they’re gripping, especially if you’re a foodie. He’s completely unashamed about how much butter and cream he adds to his recipes, and let’s be honest, we all know that’s the secret!
I wanted to share the TV series with Chain Gangers, but there are difficulties. Only UK residents can watch the episodes on the ITV website; and the series isn’t (yet) available as a box-set.
But, there is a book.
And I’ve got three of them to give away.
Many of you will already know that our tours are not just about cycling. We explore the food and wine of a region (or cider and calvados if we’re in Normandy). It’s inspiring to see somebody as passionate about food as James Martin, who then visits so many places that we know through our cycle tours. Inevitably he picks out the best food and the best places, so they’re the places and food that we explore.I was delighted to spot a glaring error. He’s talking about truffles to a truffle expert, and claims that he can find truffles back home in England rather than pay £1,000 a Kilo in France. “No!” I hear you cry. “Those’ll be the Tuber Aestivum! Also known as the Burgundy truffle, the summer truffle, or English truffle”. And of course you’re right. He needs to focus on the tuber melanosporum, the ‘black diamond of the Périgord’.
James Martin’s French Adventure is a very accessible way to find out what the fuss is about French cooking. Some classic French dishes like French Onion Soup, but he also explores favourites of mine like confit of duck, cepes, truffles, boeuf bourguignon and rabbit, as well as fabulous herbs.
There is no nod in this book towards weight-loss, low-fat options, or the macrobiotic diet. This is all about traditional French cooking, and making food taste gorgeous.
Who wants one?
Q. Choucroute is a classic dish from one of our French Chain Gang tours.
Three names out of the hat on April 20th for a free cook book.