Sarala Terpstra dreamed of moving to France for 10 years and finally did so just after the pandemic. She then learned to cook in the elegant wine capital of Bordeaux with a toaster oven, and rides a bicycle to the store. Her debut book Vegan French Favourites offers 30 classic recipes using wholefood recipes. Learn to make her cauliflower au vin and chocolate fondants.
Before cooking, read up on food safety for people & pets (many human foods are unsafe around animal friends).
France and vegan food?
Years ago, a vegan travel writer talked of an English tourist visiting France. He was asked if he had anything to declare. He replied ‘only my veganism’. The customs officer replied ‘then I advise sir, that you turn back’. Today things are more hopeful. Many top chefs (with Michelin stars) have gone vegan and are boycotting foie gras. In fact, if you take out the meat and cheese, French cuisine is fairly plant-based anyway with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Unlike how the media portrays, French people don’t guzzle bottles of wine, smoke endless cigarettes and eat fancy cakes all day. They practice moderation in a country where (like it or not) it’s frowned on to get overweight and lounge around in jogging pants all day. When French women living in London are asked how they stay so slim and healthy, they remark they would never dream of devouring an American-sized muffin. Like Italy, French petrol stations don’t sell aisle of crisps and chocolate bars – they sell gas!
authentic French recipes by a Canadian chef
The Two Spoons Cookbook is a super book by a Canadian who lived and cooked in France for several years. She went vegan in her early 20s after losing a loved one to cancer, and also struggling with severe IBS. The book offers a show-stopping blend of over 100 dishes including:
- Baked ‘Brie’
- Classic flaky croissants
- Buttery brioche
- Herb garlic cheese
- Mushroom bourguinon with buttery mash
- Summer rainbow ratatouille
- Pear tarte tatin
- Sweet cherry frangipane tart
recipes by a French-Canadian Buddhist chef
The Buddhist Chef’s Homestyle Cooking is a book by a popular French-Canadian chef who says that rather keep making hundreds of recipes, just keep practicing until you have a good base of 10 or so excellent recipes to enjoy. Food to learn in this book includes:
- 5 ingredient apple tart (with flaky pastry)
- Tuscan soup
- Macaroni salad with jalapeno-marinated tofu
- Shawarma tofu wraps
- Ratatouille lasagne with almond ricotta
- Buffalo cauliflower
- Trio of vegan cupcakes
Often people take recipes from the Internet, the recipe fails and people think they cannot cook. It’s not the cook to blame, but rather the recipe. You need to buy a GOOD recipe book and practice the same 5 to 6 recipes. Then you will no longer need to look at the recipe. Jean-Philppe Cyr
classic recipes from a Parisian baker
Voilà Vegan is by a classically-trained baker, who set up a bakery in the world’s most butter-obsessed city in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris. From donuts to brownies to macarons and profiteroles, her desserts were a surprise hit with locals and now she blends techniques from both sides of the pond. Recipes include:
- Cherry clafouti
- Banana tarte tatin toast
- Strawberry shortcake Mille Fueille
- Boneshaker cinnamon rolls
- Pumpkin cake donuts
- Gateau de Voyage (travel-friendly cakes)
- Chocolate brownies
- Donut profiteroles
- Cherry Clafouti