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French

This is a lovely chocolaty chocolate mousse, and better still, one that sets quickly. We use either milk or dark chocolate – or even a combination of the two – depending on the preferences of the feasters.

Why do people love crème brûlée so much? We think it is how you have to crack through the crispy sugar-topping to get to the heavenliest of all custards. It is a very elegant desert, and usually expensive when you order it in a restaurant – but is actually very easy to make. Especially this recipe, demonstrated by the French pastry chef Guillaume Nicoli on NZ television, as it does not require the use of a bain-marie (water bath) to cook.

The French, without doubt, makes the best onion soup in the world: it is a perfect combination of smooth textures and flavours.

While every region and bistro across France has its own version of this classic dish, very few non-French restaurants seem to be able to make a decent bowl of French onion soup.

We cannot understand why, because it is a simple enough dish to prepare at home, as we do on cold and wet winter nights (that is, frequently).