SO FRENCH – by Dany Chouet with Trish Hobbs

A book review by Franz Scheurer


It’s been a while since you could sample Dany Chouet’s wonderful fare at a restaurant in Australia and as we lost a great opportunity for good food, Australia lost a great chef when she returned to her native France a few years ago. Chouet’s food is provincial French, the kind of food you need to be taught by your mother and grandmother. It needs a lot of self-discipline and a real understanding of ingredients to cook a good French provincial dish; it takes a great palate to take it to the next level. Dany Chouet did just that at Cleopatra’s in Blackheath, in the Blue Mountains of NSW.


Now finally we have a gorgeous book, passing on the ‘secrets’ of her flavours and textures with down-to-earth stories and informative recipes.


The book is divided into:

French Beginnings

Upstairs Down Under

Going It Alone

Dream Chaser

An Auberge Named Cleopatra

Hats Off To French Cuisine and finally

Coming Home


The recipes are cook-friendly and achievable and this is a superb book to have in your home kitchen if you like French provincial food. I love the ‘Garlic Lamb’s Brains’; they’re easy to cook and it’s such a satisfying dish. ‘Veal Tongue in Piquante Sauce’ continues the theme of eating every bit of an animal and classics like the ‘Duck With Lemon Sauce’ round out the picture. There are a lot of desserts in this book, too, and one that caught my eyes is the ‘Pear, Chocolate And Walnut Gratin’. A dish called ‘My Dream Cake’ which is a layered orange and almond biscuit with a chocolate Bavarois and light meringue whipped cream. A lot of spoon licking will be going on if you serve this! I must say that although I don’t really have a ‘sweet tooth’ my favourite recipe in this book has to be the ‘Nectarine And Raspberry Gratin’. The photo does it justice, too.


If you like wholesome food with a French accent and that certain ‘Je ne sais quoi’ then this book is for you.


Published by Murdoch Books

RRP $ 69.95

ISBN: 978-1741964943