Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité – it doesn’t get much French than that. Those three words applied to French cuisine equal a cook book with a lot of oh la la – and a lot of delicious and mouth-watering dishes.
Revolutionary French Cooking is French chef Daniel Galmiche’s latest book. He took the three French words that represent the French Revolution and made them into sections in his book.
Liberté: “classic dishes released from the constraints of traditional French cookery”
Egalité: “democratic recipes that elevate humble ingredients to starring roles”
Fraternité: “dishes that bring innovation and style to classic combinations of ingredients”
What that means for us, the at home cook who wants to prepare a delectable and scrumptious dish, are recipes that are easy to understand, almost always simple to prepare but with complex tastes – quintessentially French in other words. It is a way to cook like a master chef in your own kitchen, lessons in how to prepare and present your dishes like a professional without the expensive equipment and using ordinary ingredients.
Daniel starts many of the recipes with a few words about the dish, what he has added to make it outstanding, what to serve it with, what it means to him. He takes a classic French dish and enhances the recipe with a twist to bring it into the 21st Century. Take the recipe for the timeless little Madeleine cakes. By adding honey and pistachio nuts and suggesting you serve it with a dark chocolate sorbet, this rather simple little cake is no longer something to have with a cup of tea, it is elevated to something quite elegant and utterly luscious.
The methods in the book are deliberately kept uncomplicated – there’s no point in producing a book with great recipes if they take so long and are so difficult to prepare that most people give up. I couldn’t find a single recipe that took longer than 40 minutes to prepare and most take 20 minutes or less (not including time for marinating or cooling down.
There are excellent photos throughout, numbered instructions that are easy to follow and all measurements are given in metric and imperial sizes.
Daniel says that when he was writing the book, he really had in his mind that nothing should be beyond a home cook’s reach. Although he does mention some techniques that might not be commonplace, where Daniel does that, he also gives concise explanations and descriptions for replicating the method without having to buy expensive equipment. For instance there is a wonderful recipe for smoked duck and lentils with lavender. Of course not everyone has a smoker so Daniel explains how you can make your own with a steamer or a wok and some kitchen foil.
This book is aspirational, inspirational and totally achievable for home cooks who want to create classic but also contemporary French recipes in their own kitchen.
Get Revolutionary French Cooking at bookstores and Amazon.
Daniel Galmiche’s recipe for Goats Cheese Quiche
Daniel Galmiche’s recipe for Pistachio Madeleine’s with chocolate sorbet
Daniel Galmiche’s recipe for Smoked Duck and Lentils with Lavender
Read more about Madeleine cakes which have an old and royal history