French flagRecipes from our nearest continental neighbours have been pushed aside in favour of Italian, Chinese and Indian foods. So it’s time for a revival of French foods as they can always be relied upon to be tasty – a large glug of wine added to each recipe sees to that.

Plus as most of their dishes are based on simple ingredients and herbs you’ll have no problem rustling up a French meal from what’s in your larder.

cockeralMany classic French dishes were originally peasant meals, designed to be thrown together in the morning and then cooked slowly through the day, their owner then coming home to hot meal after a day in the fields. Coq au vin – cockerel cooked in wine – is a perfect example of this.

An ancient, stringy old bird would be sacrificed for the pot. Cooked slowly in wine, the meat tenderises and moistens, as well as becoming infusing with wonderful vinous flavours. To make this dish yourself chop up a chicken, then add onions, mushrooms, garlic, red wine and seasoning and cook in a low oven for an hour. You needn’t cook this all day as modern birds cook more quickly than old cockerels.

Try these le grub-français websites to get you started:

BBC Food website contains 488 French recipes including Chicken Chasseur and Salade Niçoise.

Free pdf download of French and Provincial recipes from the master of TV cookery Keith Floyd. And if you can find a second-hand version of the book of the series Floyd on France (1987) then even better – I can heartily recommend it.

And then some Frenchie wines to follow:

PG French Tips

£5.99 and under

There are a few fruity, slurpable wines among the forgettable masses.

The Exquisite Collection Loire Sauvignon Blanc 2012

£4.99 Aldi

Powerful gooseberry aromas balanced with underlying lime flower and nuts. The flavour is lighter on the gooseberry than the aroma would lead you to expect. Mix that with lemon, lime and digestive biscuit and the whole lot is all very nice.

Les Pierres Bordes French Marsanne Viognier 2012

£5.75 The Wine Society

No back label on this wine but the front one is very reassuring, and so are the flavours: creamy hazelnut, pear and peach. Nice.

Costs a bit more, but tastes great

Sometimes a bottle of wine tastes so fab it's still a bargain whatever it costs.

The Exquisite Collection Beaujolais Fleurie 2010

£6.99 Aldi

Sweet flavours of cherry and raspberry ripple with an edge of black pepper to add a bit of grip.

Castelmaure French Corbieres 2011

£6.99 Morrisons

Blackcurrant and chocolate flavours with a tarry liquorice edge. Nice.

Blason de Bourgogne Saint Veran 2010

£10.99 Tesco

A pale greenish-yellow wine with attractive aromas of peach and melon followed by flavours of apple cobbler.

Les Grandes Costes French Pic Saint Loup 2009

£12.99 Co-op

A recent and very interested addition to the Co-op’s fine wine range. Because you don’t see much of this southern France blend from the Languedoc over here, and for the Co-op to bag a bundle is a quite a coup. The blend of Syrah and Grenache feels light to medium bodied but contains some richly flavoured components which strangely result in a really subtle wine: cherry, cocoa and blackcurrant with a bite.

This article has also appeared as Paula's Wines of the Week on