Book reviews by Mobilism's Book Review team
Jul 15th, 2017, 5:36 pm

TITLE: James Martin's French Adventure: 80 Classic French Recipes
AUTHOR: James Martin
GENRE: Non-Fiction, Food & Drink, Cookbooks, National & International Cookery, French
PUBLISHED: 9 Feb. 2017
RATING: ★★★★☆

PURCHASE LINKS: Amazon iBookStore

Review: James Martin is a very popular, well known chef due to BBC's Saturday Kitchen and his passion for French food. James has an impressive body of telly work behind him. To name a few, James Martin: Yorkshire's Finest, Sweet Baby James, United Cakes of America, James Martin's Food Map of Britain, and James Martin: Home Comforts.

James studied catering at Scarborough Technical College, and trained at Hostellerie De Plaisance, Saint-Émilion, France .After training, he worked at a 3 Michelin star restaurant where his work was noticed by Antony Worrall Thompson, who brought James to London to work.

‘James Martin's French Adventure’ is a tv series which showcases James journeying the length and breadth of the country, sampling the very best food France has to offer from Provence and onto Perigord, Burgundy, Alsace, Pay Basque and Brittany. He mentions on the tv show that he is a huge fan of Keith Floyd, whom he considers his food ideal, and also due to their common love of French cuisine. James Martin's French Adventure is his journey as a tribute to the man himself whose tv show Floyd on France he absolutely loved, which depicted Keith's time living in rural France where he engrossed himself in the culture for several years to find the most authentic versions of some very well known and several lesser known dishes.

This book is a tie-in publication which features James’s handpicked favourite recipes from the series. It should’ve been a travelogue, but unfortunately it is not segregated geographically as per the cities visited but instead has been classified on the basis on starters, fish, meat, poultry, vegetable-based dishes and desserts, etc. Such kind of segregation breaks the visual imagery of the book, when the cookbook is based on such a culinary adventure. JMFA is beautifully illustrated with pictures of James cooking outside, leaning against buildings or cars and wandering around France with lots of recipe pictures as well, I feel recipe pictures could have done with captions mentioning the titles.

The cookbook is delightful in its very relaxed easy-to-follow cooking method. It’s simple french cooking at heart without all the fussy chefiness that one might find in when dealing with French cuisine cookbooks. All of the ingredients for the recipes can be easily obtained at your local supermarket. Many recipes in the book have been inspired by the ingredients i.e. the local produce wherever he had visited. I love potatoes and I am always on a lookout for new recipes and I was delighted to find one here as well.

350g new potatoes, scrubbed
150ml double cream
1 garlic clove, crushed
50g unsalted butter
salt and freshly ground black pepper
a few whole chives, to garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7.

Thinly slice the potatoes using a mandoline (or a very sharp knife), being careful of your fingers! Place the potato slices in a small saucepan with the cream, garlic and half of the butter. Season generously and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Generously butter a gratin dish, then spoon the potatoes and cream into the dish, spreading them out evenly. Dot with the remaining butter and bake for 20–30 minutes until the potatoes are cooked through and golden brown on top. Garnish with chives, if liked, then serve.

The book contains many French classics such as croque monsieur, french onion soup, boeuf bourguignon, rib-eye steak, confit duck, coq au vin, artichokes barigoule, salade niçoise, pain au chocolat, apple tart, pear & rosemary tarte tatin, crêpes suzette, chocolate mousse to name a few. JMFA consists of 80 recipes and its definitely a must-have when it comes to French cooking.
Jul 15th, 2017, 5:36 pm