Tui Flower’s Friday – A Taste of France

Okay, we admit the idea for this new blog theme isn’t original; in fact,it was while watching Julie and Julia that we first pondered it.  Working our way through a cookbook,with the proviso that every dish served be given a fair taste test by each and everyone – no pikers allowed, seemed like a great way to revitalise the Homestead dining table while revelling in the joy of a (nearly) finished kitchen. Who knows what new tastes we may discover! But whose cookbook to use? Actually, this decision proved a bit of a no-brainer.

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Tui Flower, just like Julia Child, braved the male dominated Paris kitchens of the 1950’s to learn her art but then, unlike her American counterpart, she brought it home to all of us. For nineteen years, she was the Food Editor running the test kitchen at The New Zealand Women’s Weekly and both The Bean Counter and Milk Maid remember thumbing through their Mum’s copy (because back then, everyone got The Weekly) marvelling that people actually ate that sort of stuff: garlic and wine, cumin and blade mace, tomato paste and cream sauces…it was a whole different world! 

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The Sous Chef was rather taken with the bouquet garni

Via Trade Me, we managed to locate a second hand copy of her first book, Tui Flower’s Cookbook published in 1968, and then a great deal of debate ensued before the first meal was decided: Boeuf Bourguignon with creamy mashed potatoes as recommended.

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followed by French Fruit Tart.

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The verdict: all seven of us (yes, seven, because it’s not a party without Princess Nikita) loved the first course, made obvious by the casserole dish being scraped clean. The combination of red wine, garlic, good beef stock and a hint of bacon is such a winner that it will definitely be integrated into our menu.

The Tart was not Farm Girl’s idea of wonderful (she opted for ice cream after a valiant three spoonfuls), but the undignified squabble that arose over her shunned portion spoke for itself. The cream caramel filling was so easy to make and so utterly delicious it could (and will) stand alone as a pud when the cook can’t be bothered mucking around with pastry and meticulous fruit placement.

So, here we sit, tummies full and eyes slightly glazed from contents of the bottle of Merlot it seemed only right to open. Tui Flower’s Friday: it’s definitely a winner with us. 

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15 thoughts on “Tui Flower’s Friday – A Taste of France

    • I’m still surprised at how the simple combination of garlic, cumin, a little red wine and herbs had fallen out of our repertoire…it’s firmly installed again now 🙂 And thanks for the encouragement to continue!

  1. Great idea. I have not done well with beef bourgignon in the past, and I’ve never tried a french tart of any sort. Yours looks scrumptious and I would have been happy to take on FG’s portion.

    We had a similar brainstorm after J and J, and opted for another J…J. O. of course. We worked our way through Jamie’s Food Revolution, and my epiphany came with soup making, which up till then had consisted of opening a can or two, or if I was going all out, a jar of boullion powder, neither of which fitted well with my whole foods/locavore ethos that was evolving at that time.

    I love the name Tui Flower. Isn’t a tui a bird?

    • Jamie – a great choice! I wonder how many others watched the movie and then decided to put their own spin on it 🙂
      Yes, Tui is a very cool native bird. In Rotorua they would sit on the clothes line while I hung out the washing, all the while singing their hearts out. Although they have now been coaxed back into Christchurch they haven’t ventured as far as the Homestead yet…I’d very much like it if they would 🙂

  2. Oh my! I collect vintage and retro cookbooks! I love this one: look at Tui with her nice sixties dress and hairdo! The dishes look amazing, well done! It is so much fun to read these books, let alone cook from them. I hope by now you have your dishwasher back! xo Johanna ps Julie and Julia is an amazing movie!

    • I also love cookbooks; they’re such a wonderful glimpse into another way of living. And I agree, the book is wonderful for it’s cover picture alone. Still waiting for the dishwasher to be connected…oh what a wonderful day that will be 🙂

  3. I am so pleased you all enjoyed your meal – the photos look so yummy! I often consider being a little more adventurous but that is often as far as I get! I am not an enthusiastic cook and only try new recipes when I have to please guests. The family get the same old things week in and week out. I am now feeling that I ought to try harder but it will have to wait until after the impending cooking-fest also known as Christmas. 🙂

  4. Fabulous! I had the very same idea, also from watching Julie & Julia…I even went as far as purchasing my own copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking…which I haven’t used once yet. I was going to blog about it as well…but I always seem to start things and never finish them (attention span of a flea!!)…but I’m so happy to see you’re doing it!!! Keep it up! 🙂

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