French fare with Gallic flair (+recipes)

By Amanda Laird

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France is synonymous with good food, and these three classics are no exception.

(Left to right) Chicken liver and pork terrine; roast duck, shallot and garlic salad and a cherry and kirsch clafoutis. Photos / Babiche Martens
(Left to right) Chicken liver and pork terrine; roast duck, shallot and garlic salad and a cherry and kirsch clafoutis. Photos / Babiche Martens

When you think of French food it's easy to imagine a romantic vision of rich ingredients, presented beautifully. But our Gallic friends are equally skilled at simple foods - crepes with sugar and lemon, perfectly toasty baguettes with ham and cheese. On my past travels it was a delight to be able to buy such inexpensive but good quality fare - the perfect fast food.

Today's recipes are not fast but do use quality ingredients.

I decided to make pate but when I started researching different recipes, I discovered pate was, historically, offal and meat encased in pastry in a deep dish. A terrine, on the other hand, is cooked without pastry. My mother often made small pots of chicken liver pate then poured melted butter over the top to provide a seal. So there are differing opinions on what a pate is.

I decided to make a terrine for today. It is a more involved recipe but looks impressive and can last in the fridge for at least two weeks.

Make sure you have plenty of streaky bacon to enclose the terrine in, other cuts won't work because you need the moisture from the fat of the streaky cut.

Duck is becoming easily available and is so delicious it has become a frequent dinner option in our house and at the cafe. (Look out for Saveur Duck pieces at your supermarket. They are ready to go and make life easy.) Roasting it makes the skin crispy and placing it on a tray allows the fat to drain away. I have chosen rocket for this salad because it has a mustardy sharp flavour which is good with the dressing, but you could use watercress, spinach or curly endive if you prefer.

A clafoutis is a traditional French dessert, simple and delicious, almost a fruit custard tart or flan but without the pastry which makes it quite quick to make. The fruit is very important. If you can't find cherries, you can substitute plums, pears, blackberries or apples. Apples or pears will need to be sliced and left to soften in a different liqueur - calvados or brandy would work well - before continuing with the recipe.

- NZ Herald

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