Some of my favorite ways to improve my French include singing along to French music, listening to France Bleu (Gironde), reading French newspapers and magazines and watching French television. Here in the Netherlands, I often have a look at the news on TV5MONDE, a channel that also features children’s shows in the morning and subtitled movies in the evening (great for those who are starting to learn French). Their website also has a few clever ways to brush up on the language, so it’s definitely worth a look.
As a food and wine lover, however, gourmet shows, whether that be French cooking channels on YouTube or cooking shows on television, will always have my preference. They are not only an excellent way to learn French (recipes are often visually described in steps, so very easy to follow and understand), but they are a great source of inspiration. Years ago, I discovered Julie Andrieu’s cooking shows and immediately fell in love with her beautiful recipes and charm (she’s such an elegant French lady!). I have a few of her books, and this past week I picked up another one in Bergerac, Les Carnets de Julie: Un voyage gourmand en 140 recettes. If you enjoy French cooking or are a Francophile (I’m both, as you know!), this book is a must, provided you can understand some French!
The book is based on a series that sees Julie cooking her way across France. She gets inspiration from local producers, home cooks and others who have some kind of a connection to food. They are exactly the kind of French recipes I adore, not the fancy stuff from revered chefs, but honest food prepared with love and savored the French way: around a table full of people, bread and wine! Each episode will transport you to France, entice you with the country’s gorgeous, varied landscape and equally gorgeous and varied dishes. Have a look at her channel on YouTube, though be warned, you may get hooked!
But back to that book! Here’s a little preview. Scroll to the bottom to see the first recipe I made, which my family loved! Bon Appétit !

The cover
The places visited…
No fancy chefs, instead you’ll find favorite meals cooked at home… with love!
My favorite part of France!
Oysters in Cancale…
This is one of my favorite ways to cook potatoes. You can’t go wrong with duck or goose fat! YUM!
The first recipe I tried: a delicately scented cake with orange, nuts and honey. A lovely afternoon treat.
Here is the result! I had to use two oranges as one did not provide the 120ml necessary. I also used the zest for added flavor. And, I used 100g unsalted pecans.



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