When I first saw the title of Annie’s Farmhouse Kitchen, I had to have it. Followed up with a tagline of: “seasonal menus with a French heart”? SIGN ME UP. I mean, really. Red rag to a bull but in a good way.
Little did I know that not only would I want to buy eight blocks of gruyere (normal for me) after reading it, but also that I would never be the same again. Something would profoundly shift and change the course of my entire life.
The title struck me because deep down, I want nothing more than a seasonal farmhouse kitchen. That is like, dream kitchen material. So far I have a seasonal suburbs kitchen that hasn’t seen a lick of paint since the 70s and it’s never fed any farm folk, but regularly has chickens pecking in its corners for scraps (look, they find heaps I’m not known for my pristine cooking style OK?).
The Annie in the title is Victorian chef Annie Smithers, who runs du Fermier in Trentham, a small restaurant that serves a seasonal, classic-French-style menu for lunch Thursday – Monday.
If I’m ever missing, you should probably look for me there.
The book is divided into seasons (duh), beginning with early autumn and moving through to late, before early winter, etc. So it’s not just seasonal, it’s down-to-the-minute seasonal. I LOVE IT.
In each chapter you’ll find a full menu of entree, main, side, and dessert, accompanied by Robin Cowcher’s delicious watercolour illustrations of homely farm life and food throughout.
There are even timelines to follow for those of you who want to reproduce the menu for your own guests.
And terribly bucolic photography of exactly the kind of farm I one day want to live on.
The recipes run the gamut from simple to complex (I mean, this IS French cuisine) but totally runs with rural countryside meals, what you’d find in farmhouse kitchens throughout the land.
The ones that stood out to me as must-try-ASAP are:
- Double-baked truffle and gruyere souffle
- Chocolate pot au creme with salted caramel sauce and cinnamon brioche
- Celeriac and potato soup with parsley puree and soft poached eggs
- Paris Brest
Ok so a lot of it’s très elegant but the book is designed more for dinner parties and festive meals.
I love the friendly chattiness of the stories around growing the produce, how the farm looks throughout the year, and the fun stories of travels, food, and rapscallion pets. It’s exactly what you want to read if you love simple, seasonal living and damn good food. It was also a huge inspiration to start my own book, which I hope one day you will find it’s exactly what you want to read if you love simple, seasonal living and damn good food!
That book I started is now at the forefront of everything I do. One minute it didn’t exist, the next it was fully-formed in my mind and just waiting for me to put pen to paper (literally) and bring it to life. It may well also be the death of me, haha.
*I was provided this book for review purposes and I think it sent me a little bit nuts. Thanks Hardie Grant!