17 October 2017Last updated

Food | Recipes

French recipes made easy

You don’t need to be a Michelin star chef to make these delicious recipes

14 Jul 2017 | 12:00 am

Simple quiche


Prep time 15 mins
Cooking time 45 mins
Makes 1 large quiche

400g ready-made 
shortcrust pastry
250ml milk
250ml fresh cream
3 eggs, beaten
2 egg yolks, beaten
1 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
1 tbsp olive oil
150g vine tomatoes
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed
1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Roll out the pastry to fit a 25cm tart tin and blind-bake in the tin, 15 mins. Whisk together milk, cream, eggs, egg yolks and nutmeg for about 3 mins. Strain the mixture, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and pour into the prepared tart case. Bake in the oven for 30 mins or until set. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over low heat. Add tomatoes, thyme and garlic, and fry, about 5 mins. Serve quiche topped with the tomatoes.

Tip: Quiche is a delicious way to showcase your favourite ingredients – or use up leftovers (avoid food waste!). Add lightly cooked fish or vegetables to the egg mixture before baking, or smoked fish such as salmon. Got cheese to use up? Quiche is the perfect vehicle.



Prep time 15 mins
Cooking time 45 mins
Serves 4

4 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
½ green pepper, seeded 
and thinly sliced
½ red pepper, seeded 
and thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, peeled and 
finely chopped
500g tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
2 courgettes, sliced
into rings
1 aubergine, diced
2 sprigs fresh thyme, 
leaves removed
1 bouquet garni (see notes)
Warm baguette, to serve

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick saucepan over medium high heat. Add onions and cook, 2 mins. Add the peppers and garlic, and sauté, about 5 mins. Turn down the heat to low, add tomatoes, salt and freshly ground pepper and cook, about 10 mins. Remove the mixture and keep warm aside. Heat the remaining olive oil in a separate saucepan over medium heat, add courgettes and sauté, 4 mins. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon. Add aubergine to the same pan, season, sprinkle with thyme leaves and sauté, 4 mins. Add more olive oil, if needed. Add aubergine, courgettes and bouquet garni to the tomato mixture, and cook over low heat, 20 mins. Serve with a warm baguette, spread with herb butter.

Tip: It is best to cook the vegetables separately when making a ratatouille. To make your own bouquet garni, tie together 2 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 bay leaf and 6 stems fresh parsley with string.

Butterflied quail with garlic and tarragon butter and glazed carrots


Prep time 10 mins
Cooking time 30 mins
Serves 6

2 tbsp olive oil
4 tsp chopped fresh tarragon
6 quails, butterflied and skewered
50g butter, softened
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
500g carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
200ml water
60g butter, softened
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp lemon juice

For the quails, mix together olive oil and 2 tsp tarragon. Rub the mixture onto the quails, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and allow them to marinate, 10 mins. Grill the quails in a griddle pan over high heat until golden brown, about 10 mins each side. Mix together softened butter, remaining tarragon and garlic. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter mixture, add the quails and toss until fully coated. For glazed carrots, add water to a saucepan over high heat and briefly boil the carrots until soft but still firm, about 8 mins. Strain. Melt butter in a separate saucepan over low heat. Add sugar and stir until dissolved, about 10 mins. Add lemon juice and carrots and cook, while stirring, until a syrupy consistency is reached. Serve warm quails with a side of glazed carrots.

Grilled scallops with beetroot purée


Prep time 15 mins
Cooking time 20 mins
Serves 6

4 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
400g beetroot, finely diced
40ml red grape vinegar
4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
100ml fresh cream plus extra, if needed

30g butter
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
6 sprigs fresh thyme plus extra, to garnish
2 tsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
30 scallops, removed from shells
Pink salt, to taste

For the beetroot purée, heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add onions and fry until translucent. Stir in beetroot and red grape vinegar. Add tomatoes and thyme and cook until the beetroot is tender, about 15 mins. Remove from the heat, take out the thyme and blitz the mixture well in a blender. Pour the purée back into the saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until slightly thickened, about 5 mins. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream. If the purée is too thick, add a little more cream to loosen. 
For the scallops, heat a separate non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Add butter, garlic, thyme and parsley. As soon as the butter melts, add the scallops and fry until tender, 2-3 minutes on each side. 
Take care not to overcook. Season the scallops with salt and serve scattered over the purée. Garnish with a sprig of fresh thyme.

Beef medallions with burgundy sauce and duchess potatoes


Prep time 15 mins
Cooking time 20 mins
Serves 6

500g potatoes
150g butter
1 egg
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
3 bay leaves
250ml non-alcoholic red wine
500ml vegetable stock
2 tbsp olive oil
6 beef medallions
500g asparagus spears, steamed, to serve

For the duchess potatoes, preheat the oven to 180°C. Cover the potatoes with water in a large saucepan over high heat and boil until soft, about 20 mins. Remove from heat, drain and rinse with cold water. 
Carefully peel the potatoes and mash through a fine sieve. Mix in the butter, then stir in the egg and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag and pipe desired shapes onto a greased baking tray. Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, 15-20 minutes.

For the sauce, heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat and sauté onion, about 5 mins. Add garlic and bay leaves, and sauté, 5 mins. Add non-alcoholic wine, and stock. Cook over low heat until the sauce has reduced by half. Remove the bay leaves and keep warm.

For the beef medallions, heat olive oil in a frying pan over high heat and sear the beef medallions, 5 mins on each side. Brown the sides until sealed, about 2 mins. Remove from pan and allow the medallions to rest, 5 mins. Serve drizzled with the sauce, alongside the asparagus and duchess potatoes.

Steamed sole parcels


Prep time 30 mins
Cooking time 15 mins
Serves 6

6 large soles, cleaned and filleted
3 carrots, peeled and cut into strips
6 bay leaves
50ml olive oil
½ green pepper, diced
½ red pepper, diced
3 baby marrows, cut into strips
1 onion, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, kept whole
5 sprigs fresh thyme
50g melted butter
4 tbsp honey
Fresh flat-leaf parsley
Courgette ribbons, sauteed

Preheat the oven to 180°C. For the sole pockets, separate all the ingredients onto 6 sheets of baking paper large enough to seal each fish. Place a fish on a sheet of baking paper, then top with the vegetables, garlic, thyme, bay and drizzle with oil. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, close the baking paper (as if making a parcel) and bake in the oven, 
10 mins. Open the parcels and remove the vegetables, then return the fish to brown slightly, 5 mins. Do not overcook. 
Close the pockets if you prefer to serve the fish in the steamed pockets. Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat 
and add half-cooked vegetables and honey, and cook while stirring, about 8 minutes. 
Serve the vegetables warm with the fish, fresh parsley and butter-sauteed courgette ribbons.