We all love reading recipes, trying to prepare something yummy, surprise our friends and create something great. A tasty strawberry jam that makes you think of summer, a choucroute as it could be served in the Alsace, a soup that warms you in winter or asparagus a la Flamande, all delicious.
Recipes basically have two components: the ingredients (what you need) and the actions (what you do). These actions may seem simple but can be challenging, for instance: ‘chop the onion’. Sounds simple, until you see how a chef chops an onion and you compare their result with your own. Another one: ‘poach the egg’.
When we’re not sure how to do something, we open our copy of Le Cordon Bleu Complete Cooking Techniques by Jenny Wright and Eric Treuille, first published in 1997. It’s such a great book! It describes over 700 cooking techniques and has more than 2,000 pictures to help you understand the techniques. The book includes 200+ recipes, an overview of kitchen aids and utensils plus detailed information about meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, game, nuts etcetera. If you wonder how to slice a pineapple, don’t know how to glace a pie, in doubt how to fry a pork chop, want to prepare your fish en papillotte, then you simply open the book and find the answer.
Le Cordon Bleu is an exceptional institute. It was founded in Paris in 1895 and today it is a network of culinary and hospitality schools in 20 countries. Le Cordon Bleu combines innovation and creativity with tradition through courses, workshop, educational programs and books. Currently they offer books about Chocolate, Pastry and Classic Recipes.
Le Cordon Bleu Complete Cooking Techniques is unfortunately a bit expensive (we saw a hardcover for over € 250,00), so you may want to visit a second-hand bookshop when you’re keen to buy it. Don’t be bothered if it looks a bit off, it just means it was often used, which is to be expected with such a helpful book.