by Pierre Koffmann [great pdf books to read]

  • Full Title : 
  • Autor: Pierre Koffmann
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Mitchell Beazley
  • Publication Date: October 1, 2013
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845337093
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845337094
  • Download File Format: azw3


Memories of Gascony is the story of how one of the world’s most influential and inspiring chefs of our time first learned to love food and to cook from the heart. With recipes and reminiscences from his grandparents’ farmhouse kitchen in rural Gascony, this is the food that first inspired him to become a chef, the food of the French countryside and his childhood.

The simple, seasonal, traditional French country cooking he watched his grandmother Camille prepare and ate as a child – from dandelion salad with bacon and poached egg, quail wrapped in vine leaves and confit de canard, to prune tart, creme brulee and greengages in Armagnac – this is the food that inspires him to this day.



“If you do not own a copy of Pierre Koffmann’s glorious Memories of Gascony your cookbook collection is not complete. Brilliant to read; even better to cook from.” – Jay Rayner, Observer “‘Pierre the Bear’ as he is known to me, and to the many other chefs who have been lucky enough to work in a kitchen under his tutelage, is an extraordinarily talented man.” – Gordon Ramsay “A great chef who has never forgotten his roots.” – Bill Knott, Financial Times “Pierre Koffmann has a unique talent and I have always admired how he cooks from the heart.” – Tom Kitchin “Pierre Koffmann is a giant of the kitchen, and his shadow looms larger than anyone else’s. Almost every decent chef I can think of learned most of what he knows from Pierre.” – Giles Coren, The Times “Pierre Koffmann is a legend.” – Daniel Boulud “Pierre is one of the world’s great, instinctive chefs, with a rare ability to combine gutsiness and refinement in his cooking.” – Heston Blumenthal

About the Author

Pierre Koffman has been at the heart of fine cuisine in Britain for over forty years. After working as a young chef in France, in Strsbourg and Toulon, Koffmann arrived in London in 1970 to work under Michel and Albert Roux at Le Gavroche. When Pierre and his late wife Annie opened La Tante Claire in 1977, it was the start of a residency at the top of the London culinary world that would span four decades. Within six years of opening, La Tante Claire had its third Michelin star, setting new standards of cooking and creating extraordinary dishes from classically simple ingredients.



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London flats, I took a great interest in other student kitchens when I visited my friends. While I never really had the space to have people round for dinner, it could be different for you. In this book you’ll find recipes that would easily feed a crowd from the kitchen of a sprawling student house, such as my friend’s in Nottingham, along with quick, two-person dishes that would be perfect when it is your night to cook, such as my best friend’s cosy south London two-bed.

Everything else aside, the one thing I hope you will take away from this book, if you don’t already have it, is a love of good food. Something bright, fresh and delicious, or warm, cosy and comforting, doesn’t have to be expensive, difficult or time intensive to create. Remember that, and I promise you that you’ll be prepared for life in a way that no university lecture or seminar will be able to teach.


When you are short of money and space, and if you’ve never set up your own kitchen before, it is hard to know what to buy that you’ll get the most use out of, and what items will get used only once or twice. There is no point investing in things that will just find their way to the back of the cupboard to gather dust.

I’ve divided the equipment you’ll need to make all of the recipes in this book into two categories: kitchen essentials and items that are only essential if you gravitate more towards certain types of cooking. A muffin tin may be essential to a baker, and a wok to someone who loves a good stir-fry, but others may not get much use out of them.

The assumption is that you’ll have already purchased plates, glasses, mugs and cutlery. I’m also assuming that you have a kettle, toaster, microwave and an oven with a grill in it, and a hob on top. If you’re using a fan oven, drop the cooking temperature by 10 or 20 degrees depending on your oven.



I cannot emphasise enough the importance of a couple of good, sharp kitchen knives. Ignore those cheap knife blocks marketed to students, full of knives that can barely cut, and invest in just two good ones. Knives that are not sharp are dangerous. I still have no idea how I made it to my 10am Medieval Literature seminar half an hour after passing clean out on the kitchen floor after cutting myself with a blunt knife while making breakfast one morning.

Choose one large, long knife, and one slightly smaller knife. You may think that one will do, but if you’re cooking raw meat or fish, it is such a bother having to keep on washing up your knife in the middle of cooking.

If you can stretch to it, one knife I wish I had as a student was a good bread knife. You can use the serrated edge to cut most vegetables, and it will be a godsend when you come to slice tomatoes or a crusty loaf of bread.

Chopping Boards

Choose at least two large chopping boards: it’s important to have a separate board for chopping raw meat and with two boards you don’t have to stop and wash up halfway through cooking.

Pots and Pans

For cooking on the hob, usually it is cheaper to buy a nest of three saucepans: small, medium and large. However, if you’re buying them separately, every recipe in this book can be made with just a medium and a large saucepan. Wherever a small one is called for, you can get away with using a medium pan instead. It does not matter if your pans don’t have lids; just sit a baking tray on top and weigh it down with something heavy.

You will need a medium and a large frying pan, both of these preferably non-stick. A little one would be good, too, for things like single-serving crêpes, but it is not essential; just use the medium pan instead when a smaller pan is called for.

A wok is by no means a kitchen essential, but you may want to invest in one if you like Asian cooking. I also use my wok to make the fillling for fajitas in as it is roomier than my biggest frying pan. I had a flatmate from Hong Kong in third year who always made spaghetti bolognese in hers.


Pick up a cheap plastic one. The amount of mess you make trying to drain the water away from a pan of pasta or rice without one is not worth saving a pound or two.

Baking Trays

While I like to have an assortment, you can get away with owning just one large, non-stick tray with a generously lipped edge. You’ll be able to bake cookies on this in batches, roast vegetables on it and use it as a base for baking pieces of fish and the like.

Baking Dishes

In many instances I’ll call for an ovenproof dish for baking anything from baked bean and egg pots to chicken pies and quiches. I’d recommend picking up something cheap of about the right size when you need it to build a collection of three or four different shapes and sizes, and then making do with the nearest approximate for any given recipe.

Measuring Spoons, Weighing Scales and Measuring Jugs

While for some recipes you can’t really do without weighing scales, for a lot of the recipes in this book all you’ll need is a set of measuring spoons. I’m pretty reliant on mine. If you don’t own scales, a measuring jug is also great for volumes of liquid more than 15ml (1 tablespoon).

You can get a good pair of inexpensive scales on the high street or online. Any set of scales is better than nothing, but if I had to tell you outright to invest in one piece of kit for your kitchen, I’d send you out to buy a £10–15 pair of digital scales. They’re an investment, yes, but if you measure everything out exactly, following pretty much any recipe, you’ll have reduced your chances of potential failure by at least 80% from the outset.

Mixing Bowl

You can get away with owning just one large mixing bowl for practically everything. You’ll want it to be made out of heatproof glass so that you can easily melt butter and chocolate in it over a pan full of simmering water when you want melted chocolate to decorate a cake, or to whip up a pan of brownies.

Mixing Spoons and Wooden Spatulas

Hypothetically you can mix most things using a dessertspoon, but still I think a 50p wooden spoon ought to fall under the category of kitchen essentials. One or two wooden kitchen spatulas are also cheap as anything, and pretty much the best thing to toss anything around a wok or frying pan.

Juicer or Lemon Squeezer

It is next to impossible not to waste juice trying to squeeze a lemon or a lime without some sort of implement. A wooden or plastic squeezer is fine, but I like to use a two-part metal juicer, which catches all of the pulp and the seeds, allowing the juice to drip down into the tray below.

Cling Film, Tin Foil, Baking Parchment and Plastic Bags

These are what some people call kitchen extras, but what I call kitchen essentials. Cling film is not only great for wrapping and covering food, it makes a great tin liner for things like ice cream terrines and refrigerator bars. Tin foil, I think, sometimes does a better job of lining a tin for things like brownies than baking parchment does. Squares of parchment make great impromptu muffin cases, and parchment is my favourite thing to bake salmon on as it stops the skin sticking to the baking tray.

I like large plastic bags for freezing leftover portions of food, and to marinate things in the fridge overnight. Buy a roll of gusseted bags, as you can fit more into them.


Your grater is another item that I’d recommend you spend a little more on to ensure you get something sharp.

Can Opener and Bottle Opener

I don’t think I need to tell any student that they’ll need a bottle opener with a beer attachment for university, but make sure you get a good-quality one. I remember all too well the evening I was writing the introduction to my dissertation and I had to call home to brainstorm ideas for how to extract the cork from a bottle of wine in which the corkscrew had snapped off and embedded itself in the cork while I was trying to open it.

In that vein, cheaper tins of food don’t always have a ring pull, so don’t forget a can opener. Also, be sure you actually know how to use it without the risk of losing a finger.


Garlic Crusher

For most of the recipes in this book, all you need to do is to peel and finely chop garlic. For the few recipes where crushed garlic is preferable, I’ve explained how to make a garlic paste by sprinkling finely chopped garlic with a little bit of salt, and drawing the flat edge of a large, sharp knife across it. However, if you use garlic in a large number of recipes, like I do, you’ll save a lot of time by investing in a good hand-held crusher.

Vegetable Peeler

You could always use a knife, but I’ve found that a good vegetable peeler saves time. You can also use it to make ribbons of cucumber or carrot for salads.

Rolling Pin

A rolling pin certainly makes it easier to roll out pastry to make pie or some shortbread biscuits, but you can also get the job done using a wine bottle; just make sure it is either unopened or a screw top filled with water to lend it some weight.


For most recipes in this book, you can get away with whisking with a fork. However, if you’re playing with egg whites for something like a Dutch baby pancake, only a balloon whisk will get the job done. If you’re hell bent on making something like a meringue in your student kitchen, get online and order an inexpensive electric whisk, because life is really too short to do it by hand.

Flexible Spatulas

While you can flip pancakes carefully using a knife, wooden spatula or a spoon, I have a flexible, fish slice-type spatula that I’d be lost without. The sort of spatula you can use to scrape away any leftover juices from a one-pan chicken roast, or the cake batter from the mixing bowl, would also be a useful addition.


There is nothing that scissors can cut that a kitchen knife can’t, but sometimes they’re quicker and faster for things like quickly chopping rashers of raw bacon, which are surprisingly difficult to slice unless your knife is very, very sharp.

Stick Blender

The majority of the soups in this book are smooth, and for this you’ll need an inexpensive electric stick blender. I would have been lost without mine as a student as I used to make soup out of any vegetables I had left over. You probably won’t use it at all, however, if you’re not a soup person.

Cake Tins

If you make muffins, cupcakes or Yorkshire puddings with any semblance of regularity, it is worth investing in a muffin tin. Cupcake cases have a tendency to splay under the weight of the cake batter when baked without a tin to support them, resulting in unattractive, unevenly baked cakes.

A loaf tin is not only good for cakes, but for making things like ice cream terrines and refrigerator bars, too. All of the recipes in this book use a 900g/2lb tin. Typically loaf tins come in two standard sizes, and this is the larger of the two.

Avid cake makers will obviously want to collect different tins to suit different bakes, but if you’re the type of person who usually only throws together a cake when it is someone’s birthday or for another special occasion, one round, deep, 20cm, preferably non-stick cake tin will do. If you don’t want to buy a brownie pan, you can bake brownies in a well-lined or greased cake tin, too.

To make any tin non-stick without having to line it with foil or baking parchment, butter it really well and sprinkle it with flour, making sure the entire inside of the pan is well coated, including in all of the corners.

And if you bake a lot, whether large cakes or small bakes, you will need a wire rack for cooling.

Roasting Tray

If you like to roast a bird at the weekend, or you’re into things like chicken wings that require dousing in marinade before roasting in the oven, a deeper roasting tray (bonus points if it comes with a rack inside to rest your bird on), rather than just sticking to a lipped baking tray, may also be a helpful addition to your kitchen.

Cocktail Shaker

If you want to make cocktails at home, a shaker is by no means essential. A jam jar works perfectly well, but I must say that a proper shaker is worth the money if you make mix cocktails regularly. I just have a basic, three-part stainless-steel one, and I use it most weekends.


Throughout this book I’ve tried to give guidance and advice to help you choose the best ingredients for each recipe. For example, I always use large eggs in my cooking and baking, so I’ve listed any eggs in my ingredient lists as ‘large’ in every recipe. However, there are a few core ingredients that may be easy to overlook but which are worth a mention here. It is almost impossible to produce a good meal with poor ingredients, however basic, so make sure you get them right!

Cooking Oil

Throughout the book, I’ve used only two different types of cooking oils: light oil and extra virgin olive oil.

Extra virgin olive oil is what you should use when you’re actually going to be tasting the oil, such as drizzled on toast or spooned into salad dressings. Good extra virgin can be a little pricey (though there are some good-value versions on the market) and doesn’t last forever, so buy a small bottle. Supermarket own-brands are actually very good; just make sure the oil is marked as extra virgin, so you don’t buy a blended oil by mistake.

When I refer to light oil, you could use any mild or flavourless oil you want. Which oil you choose has a lot to do with your cooking preferences. I always have a bottle of mild olive oil to hand. Vegetable and sunflower oils are very cheap and do the job perfectly, and if you do a lot of Asian cooking you might want to make groundnut your oil of choice.

You can also substitute other oils in a lot of my recipes. If you’re roasting vegetables or chicken during the colder months, bright yellow rapeseed oil makes a wonderful addition. If you like the flavour, it is also great in salad dressings. Coconut oil has become really popular and is coming down in price. I adore the flavour and scramble my eggs in a couple of spoonfuls; you can substitute it anywhere you want to add its unique, slightly sweet flavour.

Salt and Pepper

It may sound a bit over the top that I’ve called for ‘freshly ground sea salt and black pepper’ in practically every recipe that includes seasoning, but I have a secret. If you look in the spice aisle in most supermarkets, for £1 to £2 you should be able to find plastic, pre-filled rock salt or sea salt grinders, and their black peppercorn counterparts. Typically, it takes me an entire academic year to get through one of these.

Some recipes in this book have ‘sea salt’ listed instead. I’ve asked you to use sea salt when you’re actually going to be tasting salt as an ingredient in its own right. Choose a coarse sea salt; you should be able to get a good amount for under £1.

Finally, while I don’t like to use table salt in cooking, when I’ve called for ‘a pinch of salt’ in baking recipes, table salt is what you should reach for. It is so cheap that there is no excuse not to pick up a container, but if you don’t have room for yet another container of salt in your kitchen cupboard, just use sea salt. Throughout my second year I used sea salt in all of my baking; the world did not end.

I know having a couple of different salts in your kitchen sounds like overkill, but trust me: the way you salt your food dramatically changes the flavour more than any other ingredient.


All of the cooking times listed for brown rice in this book are for brown basmati rice. It does not matter what type of rice you buy; just stick to the listed weights, and check the back of the pack for cooking times.


While salted butter is good on toast, I use unsalted butter in all of my cooking, for the simple reason that it is easier to control the amount of salt in a dish, and therefore its flavour, by adding all of the salt yourself.

For ease, most butter packets have 15g, 25g or 50g measures marked on them, which provide a helpful guide to measuring butter without the need for weighing scales.


I use whole milk as standard, but you can substitute semi-skimmed or skimmed cows’ milk in most of the recipes in this book. However, when it comes to baking, while the recipes will still work, you’ll get the best results using whole milk.


I use golden caster sugar as standard in my kitchen as it is unrefined and therefore better for you, and I like the slight caramel tone it lends to cakes and bakes. It is slightly more expensive than plain white, however, so this is down to personal preference.

The other sugar I always have to hand is soft light brown sugar. This is great in baking, and to add a deeper, burnt caramel flavour to dishes. If you have these two sugars in your cupboard, you can make practically anything. A third sugar you might need is icing sugar. Even if you’re health conscious, white refined is best. It preserves the true colour of food colouring better, and has a more uniform flavour than its golden counterpart.

Vanilla Extract

I know a little bottle of vanilla extract looks expensive, but I promise you that a little will go a long way to enhancing the flavour of your bakes in a way that cheaper, artificial vanilla essence won’t.

Cooking Chocolate

I’ve used a mixture of dark and plain chocolate in this book. However, you can use plain cooking chocolate (around 36% cocoa) for everything, if you prefer. Usually I buy just chocolate chips, ready to throw into cakes and cookie batters, or to melt without having to chop chocolate into small pieces. However, it is cheaper to buy a bar and break it up as you need it.


After a few months of cooking for yourself, you will find out which items you always like to have to hand, and which ones you always seem to need to replace. However, to get you started, here are a few items I think any starter kitchen should be stocked with, and which I class as absolute essentials.

All of the ingredient lists in this book are split into two categories: storecupboard and fresh. If you buy everything on the list below the first time you go shopping, you will only need to buy fresh items when you’re planning a meal.

light oil

extra virgin olive oil

white wine vinegar

red wine vinegar

balsamic vinegar

sea salt

black Peppercorn Grinder

table salt

dried oregano

dried chilli flakes

ground cumin

chilli powder

chicken stock cubes

vegetable stock cubes

worcestershire sauce

dark and light soy sauces


dijon mustard

wholegrain mustard

light mayonnaise

nonpareille capers

anchovy fillets in olive oil


tinned chopped tomatoes

brown rice

pasta shapes

spaghetti, tagliatelle or linguini

egg noodles

white onions

red onions


vanilla extract

bicarbonate of soda

baking powder

cocoa powder

plain cooking chocolate

plain flour

golden caster sugar

runny honey

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