Awakening To French Recipes

Bonjour mes amis,

For those of you who have a passion for all things French as I do, and particularly love French food and a Paris setting, treat yourself and go see the latest Meryl Streep’s film, ‘Julie and Julia’.

Meryl Streep plays Julia Child who spent several years in Paris while her husband Paul worked for the American Embassy there. With the help of the Berlitz Language School, she gained  confidence enough to enrol in the  Cordon Bleu cooking school.

Julia Child was  about thirty seven when she began to really sink her teeth into something she loved. (Perhaps there’s a message for us all!)  The rest is cooking history. It has been said that Julia Child revolutionised cooking across America. She later scores her own cooking show on television and produces  many cook books on French Cooking, including the ever popular, ‘Mastering The Art Of French Cooking.’

It is this cookbook which seems to demystify cooking French food. Her supreme goal is for all of us to master the techniques of producing fine French cuisine in our own kitchen. So, it doesn’t come as a big shock to any of my family and friends, that after the movie I raced out and bought the two volumes of ‘Mastering The Art Of French Cooking’ by Julia Childs and started immediately.

You can feel the passion of Julia Child in many of the recipes as she gives so much detail and personal notes throughout.  She makes it all so straight forward, not leaving out anything and makes it so much easier for us than we can ever imagine.

If I can do it anyone can and with great success (and applaud),I now know how to poach an egg which turns out divinely restaurant style and with no hesitation,moved on through the first few chapters of Volume One. The Beef Bourgnoine was made popular in the film (perhaps a turning point in Child’s career) and is the best Bourgnoine recipe I’ve ever used, so I’m going to share it with you.

Make sure you file it under “D” for Died and Gone to Heaven Beef Bourgnoine!

You will need:

6 ounces of bacon ( which has had rind removed and both simmered in water for 10 min, drained and dried),  1tb olive oil, 3lbs lean stewing beef cut into cubes 2 inch long, 1 sliced onion, 1 sliced carrot, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper. 2tb flour, 3 cups of a full bodied red wine (such as Burgandy orBeaujolis, or even Chianti), 2 to 3 cups brown beef stock or canned beef bouillon, 1 tb tomato paste, 2 cloves mashed garlic, 1/2 tsp thyme, 1 crumbled bay leaf, 18 to 24 small white onions, 1 lb  mushrooms sauteed in butter and don’t forget the parsley sprigs.


1. Preheat oven 450 degrees.

2. Saute bacon in oil over mod heat for 2 to 3 min. Remove to side dish.

3. Reheat oil (and the bacon fat) until smoking and saute beef which has been dried in paper towel. Once sauteed, add beef to bacon side dish.

4. In the same fat, brown sliced carrot and onions. Pour out fat.

5. Return beef and bacon to casserole and toss with salt and pepper.Ssprinkle with flour and toss again. Set uncovered in middle of oven for 4 min. Toss meat and return to oven for 4 min more. Remove casserole and turn down oven to 325 degrees.

6. Stir in wine and add enough stock or bouillon to just cover meat. Add tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind. Bring to simmer on top of stove. Cover casserole and set in lower level of oven. Adjust heat to simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

7.While beef is cooking, prepare mushrooms.

8. When beef has cooked pour contents of casserole into sieve set over saucepan. Wash out the casserole and return the beef and bacon to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms over the meat.

9. Skim fat off sauce. Simmer sauce for 1 to 2 minSauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon. (If too thin, boil down rapidly. if too thick, add more stock or boullion.)

10. Taste for seasoning and pour sauce over meat and vegetables.

And as the wonderful, booming Julia Child’s would announce,


Share the passion in your food, listen to wisdom and the rewards are plenty! Au Revoir,

Best Wishes, Therese Waddell


3 Responses to “Awakening To French Recipes”

  1. hi Therese, Wow you have been busy ! I love it – especially the photos. Have copied Julia’s recipe and will make soon.You have inspired me to return to France, Pam.

  2. […] My fourth guest has to be Napoleon. Now given he’d have a strong competitive streak and so the wine that Johnnie brings would be depleted in no time but he has been known for Plan B assertiveness and will no doubt have his hip flask of favourite cognac inside his top coat. Some people don’t realise that’s why he’s given to losing one arm underneath. Napoleon will relish my beef bourguignon (my recipe can be yours at: […]

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