I've been back from France for 5 months now and it's taken me this long to pluck up the courage to not only OPEN one of the French cookbooks I brought back with me, but to actually COOK a recipe from one of them.
My first cookbook - Quand Katie Cuisine (What Katie Ate)
I've been a huge fan of Katie Quin Davis for quite some time, before she started writing for Delicious magazine, and before she released her cookbook. I happened to be in Paris when it was first released, so of course I had to pick myself up a copy. It was only fitting. What a heavy bugger though! I had to carry it in my handbag (along with about 10kg of other stuff) that wouldn't fit into my suitcase or my hand luggage...shhhhh....don't tell the airline.
and for my first recipe.......
Risotto de Champignons et lard fume a l'oeuf poche
(Mushroom Risotto with Smoked Bacon and Poached Egg)
Now, the problem I had was that I'm not all that great at the French language (yet!), and even though I picked up most of the words, there are some I still have no clue what they are, so I winged it.
Actually, if I'm being honest, I changed quite a bit of it.
Bottom line - the above recipe is a "loose adaption" of Katie's recipe. If you'd prefer hers, then you'd better go out and purchase her book!
The reason for using pearl barley instead of rice - I can't tell you. I guess I just felt like something a little more gutsy and nutty, and with the mushrooms, it works a real treat.
Now, I've called this a "mid week meal", and for me it is as I love to make risotto after a long day at work. I find the soothing rhythm of simply stirring very relaxing, and with a little Diana Krall playing in the background, I'm relaxed before you know it!
PS...don't you just love my little copper pot?! Another little pressie for me from Paris.