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I fell in love with France many years ago with it's wonderful people, language, customs and traditions and of course, the food! There is nowhere that holds this love for me more (except for my homeland of course!) and I recommend everyone to get t

I fell in love with France many years ago with it's wonderful people, language, customs and traditions and of course, the food! There is nowhere that holds this love for me more (except for my homeland of course!) and I recommend everyone to get to know France and enjoy this love affair.

My love affair with France is also seen in my kitchen! I love to cook and am very happy when in my little kitchen planning a lovely meal for my family and friends. The most precious possessions here are my collection of French recipes and books. Some go back years and are a bit worn and tattered but they are my little bit of France here in my kitchen!

I would like to share my experiences with you and to share some of my favourite recipes in the hope that you too can enjoy the wonderful foods of France in your kitchen too.

Some ideas for Valentine's Day Menu

I have given some thought here for those of you who may be on holiday for Valentine's Day. The recipes here are quite easy and the starter and dessert can be made ahead of time. This will give you some time to relax and enjoy your special meal!

Les Tomates a la Parisienne

Tomatates a la Parisienne


  • Two medium size  tomatoes or four small ones
  • Salt
  • 4oz (115g) white crab meat, lobster, crawfish, prawns or shrimps, roughly chopped.
  • 1 tablespoons thick mayonnaise


  • Cut a slice off the end of the tomato where the stem was, enough to make a lid and reserve for later.
  • Scoop out the pulp.
  • Sprinkle the cavity with salt and leave upside down to drain.
  • Mix the chopped  shellfish  with the mayonnaise.
  • Fill the tomatoes with the chopped crab meat or whatever you have chosen.
  • Replace the lids.
  • Serve cold.

Duck Breasts With Raspberry Sauce

Duck Breasts With Raspberry Sauce


  • 2 Duck Breasts about 200g (7oz) each
  • 1/2 cup (125mls) red wine
  • 80 mls crème de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons demerara sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornflour
  • 4 oz (115g) raspberries


  • Prepare the duck breasts by making slits in the skin side but do not cut into the meat. This will allow the fat to run away when cooking them.
  • Prepare the seasoning by mixing together the salt, cinnamon and demerara sugar.
  • Put a heavy bottomed pan over a medium heat and place the duck breasts in the pan, skin side down.
  • Cook for a few minutes until the skin is brown and the fat is running out.
  • Turn the duck breasts over and sprinkle the cinnamon seasoning over the skin side.
  • Continue cooking the duck breasts for about 15 minutes.
  • Remove the duck breasts from the pan and leave to rest on a warm plate.
  • Mix the red wine and cassis together in a bowl and whisk in the cornflour.
  • Pour this mixture into the pan with the duck juices and simmer for about 3 minutes until it has thickened.
  • Add the raspberries to the sauce.
  • Cut the duck breasts into thin slices and serve with the sauce.
  • You can serve with your favourite vegetables or a fresh green salad. It is good with sauteed potatoes and French green beans.

Coeur Tendre En Chocolat. (Chocolate Heart Cake)

Chocolate Heart Cake

This is so indulgent ! For all chocolate lovers! (You can prepare this day before to save time!)


  • 8oz (1 cup) butter cut in small pieces
  • 4eggs
  • 9oz (250g) good quality plain chocolate
  • 3 1/2 oz (100g) castor sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the Gaze:
  • 6oz (3/4 cup, 175ml) whipping cream
  • 8oz (225g) dark plain chocolate.
  • 1oz (30g) unsalted butter
  • 30ml (2 tablespoons) almond liqueur - optional
  • Chocolate curls and/or strawberries to garnish (you can use glacier cherries)

You will need 9inch (20cm) heart shaped cake tin or a round one.


  • Prepare the cake tin by greasing lightly with softened butter.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas3
  • • The cake is baked in a bain marie (a water bath) so wrap the tin in foil to prevent the water getting in.
  • Melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl  over a saucepan with hot water, keep it on a low heat.
  • Beat the eggs and sugar together,( using an electric mixer if you have one) for 1 minute until thick and creamy.
  • Gradually mix in the cocoa powder.
  • Beat in the vanilla essence.
  • Now beat in the melted chocolate and butter, incorporating it thoroughly.
  • Put this mixture into the cake tin.
  • Place the cake tin into a large roasting tin and pour boiling water to come half way up the tin.
  • Bake for about 45 minutes. The centre should be still soft but a skewer will come out clean.
  • Allow to cool. The centre may sink a little but this is ok!
  • Place the cake onto a wire rack upside down.

To Make The Glaze

  • Bring the cream to the boil in a pan.
  • Remove from heat immediately and add the chocolate.
  • Stir gently until well mixed then beat in the butter and  almond liqueur.
  • Allow to cool before pouring over the cake.
  • Use a spatula to spread the glaze over the cake.
  • Decorate with the chocolate swirls or flakes and cherries or your choice.
  • Chill until ready to serve.

Bon Appétit!

For more French recipes from Gaynor, visit www.french-recipes-to-love.com