SEASONAL AND SIMPLE
“That’s what I really like about living here – the amount of really good produce” “I went to the market this morning and bought some strawberries, and I can’t remember the last time I had a strawberry that tasted so much like a strawberry should taste”
While their home provides the ideal setting for the cookery classes and photo shoots, the abundance of fresh local produce provides the perfect ingredients to work with. Louise and Ian have their own potager and grow as much as they can – they currently have tomatoes, peas, beans, raspberries and potatoes, and the tomatoes are doing particularly well.
“This is very much about using fantastic French produce to cook whatever I think makes the most of the ingredients,” says Louise. “That’s what I really like about living here – the amount of really good produce, and the amount of foraging. You see French people out in the fields at all times of the year making the most of what’s available, and that’s what’s really lovely and inspiring. I’m obsessed with seasonal cooking, but in my job I’m usually doing the opposite – I’m always working four or five months ahead of the seasons, and consequently have to buy produce that looks good for photo shoots but doesn’t really taste of anything. It’s great to be here and be able to buy produce that both looks and tastes great. I went to the market this morning and bought some strawberries, and I can’t remember the last time I had a strawberry that tasted so much like a strawberry should taste. It’s all about seasonality and simplicity – cooking simple dishes with the best quality ingredients.”
With 25 years’ experience as a food writer and stylist, Louise has made dishes from around the world and as a result is happy to be flexible about the food she makes during the courses, depending on what the participants are keen to do.
“I’m still to find out if people want to come and cook traditional French food,” says Louise. “I’m flexible but would still rather push forward the notion that as long as the ingredients are local, and therefore they’re French and fabulous, there’s no reason you can’t cook something and add a bit of spice to it.”
This page: Home-grown tomatoes, foraged elderflower and strawberries from the market
Opposite clockwise from top: Cake making is always popular with children on family cooking days; everyone sits down together in the garden to enjoy the food they’ve made; Louise’s apricot tart