Decadent meals for two
It doesn’t have to be Valentine’s Day to treat a friend to a home-crafted meal of deliciousness. At any time of the year it’s a gracious way of saying ‘thank you for being my friend.’
I’m a Francophile and for me there is possibly no other country more romantic and dedicated to great food than France: the town markets; the relaxed wining and dining; and great produce such as cheese, oysters, artichokes and andouillette. And I love that the traditional dishes are still revered and have stood the test of time.
Croque Monsieur and Croque Madame are Parisian staples. They are basically a fancy version of a grilled cheese sandwich made with Gruyere cheese, ham and béchamel sauce. When served with a poached egg on top the sandwich is a Croque Madame.
The Italians claim that France’s ‘salade de tomates et fromage’ has been pilfered from their culinary heritage being similar to their Insalata Caprese (ripe tomatoes, mozzarella and olive oil). But whether this is an ‘alternative fact’ or not I don’t wish to argue but only enjoy — fresh ripe tomatoes, mouth-watering buffalo mozzarella and basil are a fabulous summer combo.
‘Ragout’ is French, (‘ragù’ is Italian), and my following saucy lamb with herbs tossed with pappardelle recipe is definitely Italian inspired. However, there’s nothing more flavoursome than the lamb of Provence, fed on wild herbs and seasoned with salty coastal winds. And it was in this region that I first enjoyed the scrumptious pasta dish.
Serve without the eggs for a Croque Monsieur. Get the recipe
A tomato & cheese salad. Make small balls of mozzarella using a melon baller or cut into 1.5cm cubes. Get the recipe