French cuisine plus culture

TAKE a captivating journey into French wine country with Mimi Thorisson's latest cookbook.

In French Country Cooking: Meals and Moments from a Village in the Vineyards, Mimi shares her family's latest adventure - moving into and renovating an abandoned chateau in Medoc as well as a vast array of hugely appealing recipes inspired by the eccentric cast of characters they meet along the way.

If you love eating French food, you'll be keen to try such dishes as white asparagus souffle, salted butter chocolate cake, Plantia's tarte tatin, and cinnamon crepes with cream and strawberries.

French Country Cooking is a beautifully presented book, filled with evocative photos taken by Mimi's husband, Oddur Thorisson.

More than just a cookbook, the recipes are interwoven with stories of setting up Mimi's new home, family traditions, fascinating people and French culture.

Kale and sausage pasta



½ cup (120ml) extra virgin olive oil

400g pork sausage, casings removed

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

1¼ cups (250g) chopped kale

Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pinch of crushed dried chillies

500g dried rigatoni

120g grated parmesan cheese (about 1¹⁄³ cups), plusmore for serving (optional)


Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil over a medium-high heat. Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over a high heat. Add sausage and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until browned, about five minutes.

Add the onion and cook for a further five minutes. Add kale, season with salt and pepper and cook and toss everything together for three minutes more. Sprinkle in the chillies.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente, according to the package directions. Reserving half a cup of the pasta water, drain the pasta and return it to the pan. Add the sausage mixture, parmesan and reserved pasta water to the pasta, mix everything together and serve immediately, topped with additional parmesan if desired.

This is an edited extract from French Country Cooking by Mimi Thorisson, published by Hardie Grant, RRP $49.99. Photography: Oddur Thorisson 2016