POINT BLANC – is there anything better than classical French cuisine?

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Seeking inspiration, I’m sat in the garden, drinking rosé and thumbing through recipe books, old faves I haven’t used in a long time. Okay, so Raymond Blanc’s palette has been augmented by the use of ingredients such as lemongrass and ginger but the recipes in this wonderful book (first published in 1988 when the young, self-taught Raymond was widely regarded as the best chef in Britain) are deep-rooted in the French classical tradition.

Coquilles Saint-Jacques aux Feuillettes feature. As do Carre d’Agneau Rôti, Iles Flottantes (Façon Maman Blanc) and more. No chemistry set, no grubbing about under hedgerows, nothing easy-peasy thrown together in the TV programme manner. Here, preparation is often long and involved. Stocks are all made from scratch.

It prompted the thought that, done properly, there’s no more satisfying cuisine than French classical. Tomorrow it’s Côte de Boeuf for me, lightly smoked in ‘Gianluca’ my outdoor oven over apple wood, juniper berries, bay and rosemary. Not forgetting the Sauce Bordelaise.