Sunday, November 8, 2009

French food dinner & Julie and Julia

A few weeks ago, I saw Julie and Julia, the moving about a blogger, Julie Powell, who decided to blog her way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French of French Cooking. Julie made all 500+ recipes in the cookbook in one year, while blogging her progress. Her very successful blog was published as a book, which was the basis of her story in the movie. The movie also told Julia Child's story from her first cooking lessons in France through to her cookbook publication and eventual successful TV career. The Julia story was based on her autobiography.

The movie was a fairly light romp. Meryl Streep was excellent as Julia Child. I don't know how they made her look so tall, but she embodied Child well, awkward tallness, irritating voice, joie de vivre and all. The other actors were appealing and did well in their roles. The stories appealed to the feminist in me, showing two women engaging in what could have been seen as trivial women's occupations (cooking plus blogging for Julie) and turning it into wild successes. The story telling was kind to the protaganists, while avoiding the hyperbolic conventions of many success stories.

The down side of the movie was the amount of dead animal food discussed and handled. I don't find corpses fun, but realise that most of the rest of the cinema would have seen the very real dead bodies as no more than another prop or meal. I handled it by closing my eyes in a couple of spots.

The concentration of the moving on Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French of French Cooking, led to me checking it out from the library. In the movie, Julie raved about her mother making Boeuf Bouguignon. As a result I decided to give it a veganised try.

To go with my version, I decided to make a 3 course french meal.

First course, not pictured, was an omelette aux fines herbs, using the omelette recipe from Vegan Brunch, filled with fresh chopped herbs, rolled, sliced and served with a small green salad. I also served sliced french stick with it. This is an amazing omelette. I will blog it further soon.

It was followed by mushroom stick bourguignon, which was better than it looks in this photo. I substituted Lamyong vegan ham for the bacon in the original recipe, nuttelex for butter, Massel beef style stock for the stock and mushroom sticks for the beef. I made a 2/3 sized recipe, with only 300g of mushroom sticks in place of 1kg meat, as it appeared to be around that volume, though it was lighter. I frequently use mushroom sticks in the place of beef in any recipe where it calls for small chunks. Mr Brisvegan loves them, as do the children.

It worked really well. As you can see, I served it with baked potato, cauliflower gratin and baked asparagus. Everyone other than Z liked it. Z likes his mushroom sticks with a more subtle sauce apparently.

To follow, I made my first tarte tatin. It was as easy as it looks on TV cooking shows.

Apple Tarte Tatin


1 tablespoon Nuttelex
2 Tablespoons white sugar
pinch each cloves and cinnamon
3 - 4 apples, cored and sliced
1 sheet vegan puff pasty

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees centigrade.
  2. Line a pie dish with non-stick baking paper. In the dish, melt the nuttelex. You can do this by popping it in the oven for a few minutes.
  3. Sprinkle the sugar and spices over the sugar.
  4. Add apples. Return to oven for 20 minutes or until apples are just tender.
  5. Remove dish from oven. You can leave it to cool if you wish to serve the pie hot later in the day.
  6. 30 minutes before you want to serve a hot tarte tatin, cover the apples with the puff pastry. Trim and tuck the edges around the apples.
  7. Return to oven. Bake at 180 degrees centigrade for 30 minutes or until the pastry is puffed and golden.
  8. Once the pasty is cooked, invert the tart onto a serving dish. Viola!
Everyone loved the tart. It was so simple and easy, I will be using this method again.


  1. That looks like a fabulous dinner. Your tart sounds super easy, next time I have apples I will definitely be making it.

  2. Yum! I love a good mushroomy meal.
    What are mushroom sticks???

  3. What a great idea! I saw that movie too, and was quite put out by some of the scenes. Particularly the poor lobster!

    I like the movie better than the book though, which I read a couple of years ago. Julie is a bit self-involved! Though she does watch Buffy. ;)

    I too wish to know what are these mushroom sticks - I want to get some!