Delicious, simple, and easy-to-prepare recipes are my hallmark. With four children, life got busy, fast. I simply didn’t have time to spend hours in the kitchen, mastering complicated techniques with hi-tech equipment. I learned to select a few choice ingredients, and to combine them simply to create a meal bursting with flavour.
My early roots in Northern Ireland’s farm country, combined with almost thirty years in France, cultivated my taste for exceptional ingredients. While living in Paris’s 7th arrondissement, La Grande Épicerie de Paris was my local supermarket. La Grande Ép’, as it’s affectionately called by Parisians, is the food hall at the famous Bon Marché department store; it offers an impressive selection of 30,000 exclusive gourmet products, from regional French produce to delicacies from around the globe. The range is phenomenal – fresh fruit and vegetables, artisanal dairy and meat products, chocolate and pastries, exotic spices and condiments, wines, gourmet prepared meals – you just can’t go wrong.
My latest book, C’est Bon, highlights both facets of my culinary philosophy: simplicity combined with fresh, premium ingredients. Simple doesn’t have to be basic; these recipes can all be made at home, by chefs of all levels, in relatively little time, but they are full of inventiveness, surprising combinations, and above all flavour. You’ll transform classic mussels with garlic butter into a gratin topped with almond-coriander pesto; add pizzazz to buttered mash with truffle pecorino cheese; give marinated beef a twist with black rice, olives, and chocolate; or enjoy the delicate aroma of pan-seared pumpkin slices with fresh sage and mint before indulging in the sheer perfection of goat’s cheese with cherry preserves and chocolate on toast! Enjoy these recipes – from my kitchen to yours. C’est si bon!
These recipe extracts are taken from C’est Bon by Trish Deseine, published by Flammarion. Purchase the book on Amazon below.
CAULIFLOWER VELOUTÉ WITH VADOUVAN-ROASTED CAULIFLOWER AND CHOCOLATE
Serves: 4-6 | Preparation time: 5 minutes | Cooking time: 45 minutes
vegetable stock (optional)
1 tablespoon vadouvan curry paste 50g chocolate, grated
1 Cut the cauliflower into florets, keeping about a quarter of the florets for garnish. Cook the rest in boiling water or vegetable stock, or steam them.
2 Cut the cauliflower reserved for garnish into tiny florets and drizzle with oil. Spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with aluminium foil or a silicon liner and roast for 15-20 minutes.
3 Blend the cooked cauliflower in a food processor and thin with the milk to the required consistency. Pour into a saucepan, season with salt and pepper, and add the butter, stirring until it has melted.
4 Remove the roasted cauliflower from the oven and toss with the curry paste. Season with salt.
5 Pour the soup into a serving bowl, scatter over the vadouvan-roasted cauliflower florets, and garnish with grated chocolate.
6 Enjoy with Morgon Côte du Py or medium-dry Vouvray.
GRILLED MUSSELS WITH ALMOND AND CORIANDER PESTO
Serves: 4 | Preparation time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 10 minutes
FOR THE PESTO
1 garlic clove, peeled
125g blanched whole almonds, chopped 1 bunch coriander
125g parmesan, coarsely grated
FOR THE MUSSELS
24 large mussels, opened on the half shell
4-5 tablespoons Japanese panko bread crumbs (or dry bread crumbs)
lemon wedges, to serve
1 Preheat the oven to 180°C / Gas Mark 4.
2 For the pesto, combine all the ingredients – except the olive oil and seasoning – in a mini food processor and reduce to a paste. Gradually add the oil, processing again until you have a soft mixture. Season to taste.
3 Arrange the mussels on the half shell on a baking sheet and top each one with a spoonful of the pesto. Sprinkle lightly with the panko crumbs or dry bread crumbs.
4 Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes or until the pesto is bubbling lightly and the crumb topping is golden.
5 Remove from the oven and serve hot, with lemon wedges to squeeze over.
6 Enjoy with white Côtes de Provence.
LEMON BARBARY DUCKLING WITH SPRING VEGETABLES
Serves: 4 | Preparation time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 1 hour
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
100g slab bacon, cut into small batons (lardons)
1 Barbary (Muscovy) duckling
zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
assorted spring vegetables (baby turnips, peas, asparagus, baby carrots, etc.)
1 Preheat the oven to 180°C / Gas Mark 4.
2 Heat the oil and butter in a large, cast iron casserole and fry the onions and lardons. Add the duckling and cook until golden on all sides.
3 Add a splash of water, a few thyme sprigs, the bay leaf, grated zest and juice of the lemon, and some salt and pepper. Cover and cook in the oven for about 1 hour.
4 Remove the casserole from the oven and transfer the duckling to a platter. Cover with aluminium foil.
5 Meanwhile, steam the vegetables.
6 Deglaze the casserole with a little water and set over a medium heat. Pour the cooking juices through a strainer and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Serve the duckling and vegetables with the cooking juices.
7 Enjoy with Crozes-Hermitage.
VARIOUS WAYS TO ENJOY BURRATA
The gourmet discovery of the early 21st century. What is marvellous about burrata is that it is often sufficient to simply put it on a plate, open it up a little, and serve it with a good olive oil, fresh herbs, and crisp vegetables, with green tomatoes, mint, and asparagus.
DARK CHOCOLATE TART WITH CANDIED LEMON AND YUZU, AND FLEUR DE SEL SEA SALT
Serves: 8-10 | Preparation time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 30 minutes, plus 3 hours chilling
1 sheet ready-made shortcrust pastry
200ml whipping cream
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
300g bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 egg yolks
45g unsalted butter
candied lemon and yuzu peel (from Asian food stores)
fleur de sel sea salt flakes, to decorate
1 Preheat the oven to 200°C / Gas Mark 6.
2 Line a 23-25cm tart pan with the pastry. Line the pastry shell with parchment paper and fill with pie weights. Bake blind for 20 minutes until the pastry is nice and golden, removing the weights and parchment paper for the last 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
3 Heat the cream in a pan with the lemon zest. Put the chopped chocolate into a bowl and strain the cream over it. Stir gently, add the eggs and butter and stir again.
4 Pour the chocolate mixture into the cooled tart shell and let cool completely.
5 Decorate the top of the tart with the candied lemon and yuzu peel and a sprinkling of sea salt. 6 Enjoy with Banyuls.
Book excerpt published in France Today magazine