November recipes: French Kiss

Round & About

Cathy Gayner’s Recipes from Le Rouzet – An English Cook in France, is out now, in aid of Age Unlimited. Here’s a taster…

Walnut tart

Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins
Serves: Four generously


For the pastry:
• 110g butter
• 140g flour
• 30g icing sugar
• 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

For the filling:
• 20g butter
• 200g golden syrup
• 100g walnut halves
• A pinch of mixed spice
• 100g mixed peel
• Four madeleines (or soft amaretti), crumbled
• One egg, beaten


This is very much part of Le Rouzet menus in the early autumn, when our walnuts are beginning to ripen and every tree seems to have a red squirrel perched in it, noisily eating our supply. It’s like a sophisticated treacle tart, but not heavy, and is really worth making, even if you don’t have large quantities of walnuts to use up.

Put all the ingredients for the pastry into a food processor and mix until the dough forms a ball. Press the dough into a 20cm tart tin with a removable base. Prick the pastry all over really thoroughly, even up the sides (this will prevent shrinkage), then chill in the fridge.

Cook in a preheated oven at 180C/ fan 160/ gas 4 until golden.

Melt the butter and syrup in a pan and stir in all the other ingredients. Pour into the pastry case and cook at 190C/fan 170C/gas 5 for 15 minutes.

Cool in the tin but as soon as you can, loosen the edges of the tart or it will get stuck. Serve with crème fraiche.

Cheese biscuits

Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 10 mins
Makes: 40


• 250g extra-mature Cheddar, cut into chunks
• 250g salted butter, straight from the fridge, cut into chunks
• 250g plain flour
• Tabasco
• Dijon mustard
• Salt & pepper


I have dozens of recipes for cheese biscuits, but these are the ones the family insist on and I always have some in the freezer, ready to bake.

These amounts fit into my food processor perfectly; don’t be tempted to do more in one go, as it just won’t mix properly.

Put the cheese, butter and flour into the food processor and add 12 shakes of Tobasco, a heaped tablespoon of mustard, 25 grinds of pepper and two teaspoons of salt. (This is just a guide!).

Whizz all this up in the food processor and, as soon as the mixture forms a ball, stop and divide it into three parts.

Lay out three large bits of cling film and put a ball of cheese mixture on to each. With damp hands, roughly shape each ball into a sausage. Then roll up each parcel in the cling film and holding one end tightly, with the other hand, the thumb and first finger forming a circle, ease the dough along
the cling film, so you have a long, even sausage measuring about 30cm long
and 5cm across.

Freeze these parcels until you’re ready to use them (don’t attempt to cut them unless they are very cold; they will end up squashy). When you’re ready to cook, take the parcels out of the freezer and heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. By the time they have reached the right temperature, the cheese sausages will have thawed enough to cut into 2cm slices.

Line a tray with baking parchment and arrange the slices on it. Cook for about 10 minutes until golden brown; you can move them on to a serving plate straight from the oven without them coming to any harm.

They are best eaten on the day they are cooked, but if you have any left over, they freeze beautifully.

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