Recipes for a change – France Today



French dressing © James Murphy

Cathy Gayner has spent 50 summers on her farm in southwestern France. All proceeds from her first cookbook will go directly to the Age Unlimited charity, which cares for the elderly and underprivileged young people.

All recipes extracted with permission from Recipes from Rouzet: an English cook in France, by Cathy Gayner, photography by James Murphy.


Originally it was a bandage I made when my husband Richard was on a diet, but it’s good enough to use even if you don’t worry about your figure. This is my go-to dressing in the summer when I make assorted salads and therefore use a lot of oil.

1 tablespoon of strong olive oil
5 tablespoons of good chicken broth
1 small garlic clove, crushed
½ teaspoon of tarragon leaves, very finely chopped
½ teaspoon of parsley, very finely chopped
½ teaspoon finely chopped basil leaves
1 tablespoon of sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon of lemon juice

1. It’s a bit of a hassle to finely chop the herbs, but it’s well worth it, as they are part of the dressing rather than ending up as an addition to the salad leaves.

2. Mix everything and set aside until ready to use.

Radicchio salad
Radicchio salad © James Murphy


For 4 people
I love this salad but I realize that it can look a bit strange. It is a strong and hearty dish, more Italian than French, and useful among a selection of salads at lunchtime.

2 heads of radicchio
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
2 cans of 400g white beans, drained and rinsed
4 tablespoons finely chopped parsley 1 tablespoon capers
200g black olives, pitted (do not use those already pitted as they rarely taste as good as they should) and coarsely chopped
100g parmesan, grated
Olive oil
white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper

1. Cut each radicchio into 8 segments, trying to keep each piece attached to the pit. Cook on a hotplate until lightly charred on each side and transfer to a serving dish.

2. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season.

3. Stir the garlic into the beans and season generously. Add 4 tablespoons of olive oil then vinegar to taste.

4. Add the parsley, capers and olives to the beans and pour the mixture around the radicchio. Finally, sprinkle the parmesan shavings.

Asparagus tart
Asparagus Pie © James Murphy


For 4 people
It’s the fastest and easiest pie there is; you don’t even need to pre-cook the asparagus.

Cheese pastry
110g unsalted butter
140 g plain flour
30 g sharp cheddar or grated Parmesan
1 bunch of asparagus, with woody ends cut off
100 g grated Parmesan
200 ml double cream
2 eggs, plus 2 more yolks
Salt and pepper

1. Place all the dough ingredients in a food processor and mix until the dough forms a ball. Press the dough into a 20 cm tart mold with removable bottom. Stitch very well all over, even on the sides (this will prevent shrinkage), then place in the refrigerator.

2. Bake the dough in a preheated 180 ° C / 160 ° C hot air oven / gas 4 oven for 15 minutes or until pale golden.

3. Combine cream, eggs and cheese in a bowl and season well.

4. Place the uncooked asparagus in the pie pan. I do this in a wheel shape, cutting off the tops to make the stems fit, then sprinkling the tops among the “spokes”, but you can place the asparagus in rows if you prefer.

5. Pour over the cream mixture and bake the tart at 180 ° C / Ventilation 160 ° C / Gas 4 for about 40 minutes.

Chicken Stuffed with Tapenade
Chicken stuffed with tapenade © James Murphy


For 4 people
If you’re a purist, you can make the tapenade yourself, but then the dish takes longer – and the point is, it’s quick and easy. It is also very good cold.

1 pot of tapenade
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
1 very good chicken
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Salt and pepper

1. Mix the tapenade with the lemon zest, garlic and parsley.

2. With your fingers, gently separate the skin from the chicken flesh and pour in the tapenade mixture. Ideally, push it on both the chest and the legs; it is tedious but not difficult.

3. Season the skin and pour over the oil and lemon juice.

4. Roast at 200 ° C / convection 180 ° C / gas 6 for 20 minutes for 500g, plus an additional 20 minutes.

5. Serve with mashed potatoes and juices.

6. A simple green salad is the only other thing you need.

Baked chocolate mousse © James Murphy


For 6 persons
Our oldest son John and his wife Tessa chose this pudding, a delicious and easy recipe that I have been making at Le Rouzet for years, for their wedding dinner. I always used to serve it with fresh cream but they improved it dramatically by serving it with honeycomb ice cream, a wonderful combination.

150 g butter, plus a little for greasing
150 g caster sugar 3 large eggs, separated
150g dark chocolate (70%)
Icing sugar, for serving

1. Butter a 20 cm diameter cake tin.

2. Beat the 150g of butter and sugar until they turn white. Beat the egg yolks.

3. Melt the chocolate in a bowl on a pot of simmering water. When the chocolate has cooled slightly, add it to the butter mixture.

4. Beat the egg whites until they are firm and fold them gently into the chocolate mixture.

5. Pour the preparation into the cake mold and bake for 1 hour at 170 ° C / Ventilation 150 ° C / Gas 3. Leave to cool in the mold on a rack and when ready to serve, unmold it and sprinkle it with icing sugar.

From France Today magazine


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