C'est bon! 4 French home-cooking recipes with Trish Deseine

In her latest book, Trish Deseine presents more than eighty original recipes that incorporate simple, quality ingredients, often in novel combinations and inspired by La Grande Epicerie de Paris.

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Chef and author Trish Deseine's journey to mastering the kitchen

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 Epicerie de Paris was my local supermarket. La Grande Ep’, 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.

The book: C’est Bon

This book 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 will transform classic mussels with garlic butter into a gratin topped with almond-cilantro 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 cheese with cherry preserves and chocolate on toast!

Enjoy these recipes – from my kitchen to yours. C’est si bon!

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Poached Lobster with Lemon Mayonnaise

Ingredients, serves 2-4
For one lobster weighing about (750 g)
2-3 litres water
2-3 level tablespoons sea salt
Lemon mayonnaise to serve
Optional: 1 fish or vegetable stock cube (be sure to use best quality)

1. Ensure the pot is large enough to keep the lobster completely submerged during cooking. Add the water and salt, but not enough to make the water as salty as seawater (you can also add a stock cube for extra flavour).
2. Boil vigorously and add the lobster, taking care that its tail doesn’t splash hot water over you. As soon as the water returns to a boil, allow 14 minutes cooking for a 450g lobster and 16 minutes for a 900g lobster. Blue lobsters turn bright orange when cooked and larger ones turn red, but do not rely on colour alone. Keep an eye on the time, as an overcooked lobster will have rubbery flesh and an undercooked one will taste terrible!
3. Remove the lobster from the pot and let cool with the tail stretched out (to help with extracting the meat).
4. Cut the lobster in half lengthwise, using poultry shears for the tail and a knife for the body.
5. Serve hot or cold with lemon mayonnaise.

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Apple and crème fraiche pork chops

Ingredients, serves 4
A knob of butter
Olive oil
4 large, free-range pork chops
4 apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
100ml dry cider
200g crème fraîche
Salt, pepper

1. Heat the butter and a little oil in a skillet.
2. Add the pork chops, season lightly, and cook for five minutes, turning once or twice. When they are nice and golden on both sides, lower the heat and add the apples.
3. Cook gently until the pork is cooked through, the meat is no longer pink, and the apples are tender and caramelized.
4. Remove the chops and the apples and keep warm. Deglaze the pan with the cider, add the crème fraîche and cook for a few minutes.
5. Season, pour the sauce over the pork and apples, and serve.

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Carrots in a Lemon Verbena Glaze

Ingredients, serves 4
500g baby carrots
75g butter
3-4 tablespoons orange juice
A few lemon verbena leaves
Salt, pepper

1. Peel the carrots and cook in a saucepan of boiling water, or steam, for about five minutes.
2. Melt the butter in a large skillet, add the carrots, and cook over high heat for one minute.
3. Add the orange juice and cook for a few minutes more. As it simmers, keep the carrots submerged so they soak up the flavour of the juice. Remove from the heat, add the verbena leaves, and let stand for a minute or two to infuse before seasoning.
4. Serve, garnished with a few finely chopped lemon verbena leaves.

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Dark Chocolate Tart with Candied Lemon, Yuzu and Fleur de Sel

Ingredients, serves 8-10
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 400°F (200°C).
2. Line a 9-10-in. (23-25-cm) 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 five 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, 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.

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