Inspiration / Food & Wine

A Fresh Take On France


Georgina Hayden Georgina Hayden / 25 May 2020

Food writer, cook and food stylist Georgina Hayden puts a modern twist on three classic French dishes, with delicious regional wines to match.

As a food writer it is rare (unheard of perhaps) that you are asked to write and develop recipes and for there not to be a brief attached. Seasonality is a popular one, holidays and times of year another; writing about Christmas, Easter etc. However for me this has been one of the most interesting briefs to date, to try three popular and quaffable wines (one more unusual…) and write recipes to match, but also with a French vein. A double challenge if you will and one that got the creative juices flowing (excuse the pun).

The result is hopefully three knockout spring and summer dishes, evoking daydreams of sunny southern France, that work a dream when paired with the wines listed below. The lamb paired with the Val de Loire rouge is the sort of meal that will undoubtedly impress. And to be honest the Duo des Plages rosé is the sort of wine that would work with a plethora of spring and summer dishes - paired with this addictive salad I am instantly transported to a veranda in the sun. And finally an Alsace muscat, which is my new obsession, an interesting, complex wine that works fantastically with spice, making it quite a special meal alongside the monkfish and mussel bouillabaisse. A date night dinner if you will, or just something to be enjoyed amongst friends. Either way I hope you enjoy them as much as I did creating them. Bon appetit.

Slow Cooked Lamb with Tapenade and Crispy New Potatoes

This is one of those wonderful one pot dishes that takes little effort but rewards you with intense, deep flavour - and potentially some of the best potatoes I have written about to date. Paired with this fresh Loire red, and perhaps a lemony dressed salad on the side, it would make a perfect lazy summer supper.

Slow Cooked Lamb with Tapenade and Crispy New Potatoes

Serves 4-6


  • 2kg lamb shoulder, rolled
  • 180g pitted olives, green and black
  • 2 tablespoons small capers
  • 3 anchovies
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 750ml hot beef stock
  • 1kg new potatoes
  • A few sprigs of thyme
  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • ½ x 25g bunch of flat leaf parsley, chopped


Preheat your oven to 140ºC. Take your lamb out of the fridge an hour before you cook it so it comes to room temperature. You can make the tapenade either by hand or in a food processor. Finely chop or pulse together the olives, capers and anchovies. Add the red wine vinegar, a good pinch of pepper and enough olive oil to make a spoonable paste. If you are happy to, unwrap your lamb and spread all over with the tapenade then re-roll and tie it up again. It doesn't have to be perfect. If it has been beautifully rolled and you'd rather not mess with it, pierce the lamb all over with a sharp paring knife and rub in the tapenade. Sit it in a large roasting tray - big enough to eventually hold all the potatoes also - and pour the hot stock in the base. Cover with foil and place in the oven for 1.5 hours.

After the initial 1.5 hours is up, carefully remove the tray from the oven. Scatter the potatoes all around the lamb in the stock and add the thyme. Roughly break up the garlic and add that also. Re-cover the tray and return to the oven for a further two hours. When everything is cooked, remove the tray from the oven, and turn the temperature up to 200ºC. Discard the foil and ladle out most of the stock from the tray - leaving around 3cm behind. Using a potato masher lightly crush the potatoes, so they just break up and flatten slightly. Drizzle everything with a little olive oil, sprinkle a little salt on the potatoes and return to the oven for a final 30 minutes, so everything becomes crispy and golden, and there is a little juice left behind in the tray. Finish by scattering with the chopped parsley and serve.

Wine Recommendation:

Val de Loire 'Collection' Rouge J Mourat 2018

Roquefort, Roasted Grape and Endive Salad

This has to be one of my favourite summer salads, a classic combination of ingredients and flavours heightened by roasting the grapes for maximum sweetness and resulting in a slightly jammy texture. It works perfectly with this Duo des Plages rosé too. However, as it is such a refreshing, easy to drink wine, I feel it will work with a huge range of summer foods.

Roquefort, Roasted Grape and Endive Salad

Serves 4-6


  • 500g red grapes on the vine
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 40g walnuts
  • 120g Roquefort
  • ½ x 25g bunch of chives
  • 90g lambs lettuce
  • 2 endives
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard


Preheat the oven to 220ºC. Lay the grapes out in a roasting tray and drizzle with a little olive oil, 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar and the honey. Season and place the tray in the oven. Roast for 15 minutes, then remove and leave to one side to cool a little.

Roughly chop the walnuts, roquefort and finely chop the chives. Pick the lambs lettuce and endive into a large mixing bowl. Cut the end off the endive and put the leaves into the bowl also. Scatter over the chopped walnuts, roquefort and chives.

In a jam jar, or small bowl, make the dressing by whisking or shaking together the remaining extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar and the Dijon mustard. Spoon in 1 tablespoon of the grape roasting juices from the tray, season well and mix until creamy. Drizzle over the salad and toss everything together until well dressed. Scatter most of the grapes on a platter and top with the dressed salad. Finish with the remaining roasted grapes and serve.

Wine Recommendation:

Rosé Duo des Plages, Pays d'Oc 2019

Monkfish and Mussel Bouillabase with a Spiced Rouille

When I first read about this Alsace muscat, I was fascinated by the claim that it complemented ingredients that don't normally work with wine. Spice is a tricky one, and keeping on the theme of a French inspired summer's day I couldn't resist trying to pair it with a bouillabaisse and spicy rouille. I can confirm it works perfectly, a really fascinating, delicious wine that I will definitely be trying with a wider range of foods.

Monkfish and Mussel Bouillabase with a Spiced Rouille

Serves 4


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, peeled and chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • A pinch of fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1 heaped tablespoon tomato puree
  • 5 ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1l good fish stock
  • A pinch of saffron
  • 1 bay leaf
  • A thick strip of orange peel
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-2 red chillies, halved and seeds removed
  • 1 garlic, peeled
  • 2 charred red peppers
  • 75g good quality mayonnaise
  • ½ lemon
  • 40g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 750g monkfish, cleaned
  • 400g mussels or clams, cleaned
  • ½ x 25g bunch of flat leaf parsley, to serve
  • A loaf of French bread, to serve


Pour the oil in a very large casserole or saucepan and place on a medium heat. Add the chopped onion, fennel, garlic and crushed fennel seeds and sauté for 10 minutes until they begin to soften. Stir in the tomato puree and chopped tomatoes, then add the fish stock, saffron, bay leaf, orange peel and season well. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 30 minutes.

While the base is cooking make the spiced rouille. Roughly chop the chillies and garlic and place in a mini food processor or blender with the red peppers, mayonnaise and a squeeze of lemon (you can always start with one chilli then add more depending on how spicy you like your food). Blitz until smooth, then pulse in the breadcrumbs. You can do this in advance and store it in the fridge. It will make the rouille thicker.

When the veg is cooked, you can either carry on with a chunky bouillabaisse, or blitz the base for a creamier, smooth soup (I prefer the latter). If doing so, remove the bay and orange peel and use a stick blender to blitz until thick. Cut the monkfish into 3cm chunks and add to the pan. Add the cleaned mussels (discarding any that are still closed), cover with the lid then reduce the heat and cook for five minutes. The fish should be opaque and the mussels should have opened (any that are still closed should be discarded). Stir through the chopped parsley and serve the bouillabaisse with fresh crusty french bread and the spicy rouille on the side.

Wine Recommendation:

Muscat Heimberger, Cave de Beblenheim 2018

Want more inspiration?

Sign up for a carefully-curated selection of recipes, guides, in-depth expertise and much more.

Our website uses cookies with the aim of providing you with a better service. By using this website you consent to The Wine Society using cookies in accordance with our policy.


4.4. Cookie Policy

By using The Wine Society website, you agree to cookies being used in accordance with the policy outlined below. If you do not agree to this, you must alter your browser settings to turn off cookies or block those types which are unacceptable to you or cease using the website.

The Wine Society uses cookies to enable easy navigation and shopping on the website. We take the privacy of all who use our website very seriously and ensure that our use of cookies complies with current EU legislation. The following guide outlines what cookies are, the types of cookies used on The Society's website and how they work.

You may alter your browser settings to turn off cookies or block those types which are unacceptable to you, but this will cause difficulties when accessing and using some areas of the site. Instructions on how to do this can also be found below.

4.4.1. What are 'Cookies'?

  • Most major websites use cookies.
  • A cookie is a very small data file placed on your hard drive by a web page server. It is essentially your access card, and cannot be executed as code or deliver viruses. It is uniquely yours and can only be read by the server that gave it to you.
  • Cookies cannot be used by themselves to identify you.
  • The purpose of a basic cookie is to tell the server that you returned to that web page or have items in your basket. Without cookies, websites and their servers have no memory. A cookie, like a key, enables swift passage from one place to the next.
  • Without a cookie every time you open a new web page the server where that page is stored will treat you like a completely new visitor.
  • More recently, cookies have also been used to collect information about the user which allows a profile of their preferences and interests to be created so that they can be served with interest-based rather than generic information about available goods and services.

4.4.2. How do Cookies help The Wine Society?

Cookies allow our website to function effectively. Cookies also help us to arrange content to match your preferred interests more quickly. We can learn what information is important to our visitors, and what isn't.

4.4.3. How does The Wine Society use cookies?

The Wine Society does not accept advertising from third parties and therefore, as a rule, does not serve third-party cookies. Exceptions to this include performance/analytical cookies (see below), used anonymously to improve the way our website works, the provision of personalised recommendations, and occasions when we may team up with suppliers to offer special discounts on goods or services.

The Society uses technology to track the patterns of behaviour of visitors to our site.

4.4.4. What type of cookies does The Wine Society use?

We use the following three types of cookies: Strictly Necessary Cookies
These cookies are required for the operation of our website, enabling you to move around the website and use its features, such as accessing secure areas of the website. Without these cookies, services like shopping baskets or e-billing cannot be provided. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:

  • Authentication Cookie and Anonymous Cookie
    These cookies remember that you are logged in to your account – without them, the website would repeatedly request your login details with each new page you visit during your time on our website. They are removed once your session has ended.
  • Session Cookie
    These cookies are used to remember who you are as you use our site: without them, the website would be unable to tell the difference between you and another Wine Society member and facilities such as your basket and the checkout process would therefore not be able to function. They too are removed once your session has ended. Functionality & Targeting/Tracking Cookies
These cookies are used to recognise you when you return to our website and to provide enhanced features. This allows us to personalise our content for you. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:

  • Unique User Cookie
    This cookie is used to:
    • store your share number in order to identify that you have visited the website before. Without this cookie, we would be unable to tell whether you are a member or not.
    • record your visit to the website, the pages you have visited and the links you have followed. We use this information to make our website, the content displayed on it and direct marketing communications we may send to you or contact you about more relevant to your interests.
    • This cookie expires after 13 months.
  • Peerius Cookies
    These third-party cookies are used to provide you with personalised recommendations based on your purchase and browsing history. They expire within 4 hours of your visit. Performance/analytical cookies
These cookies collect information about how visitors use a website, for instance which pages visitors go to most often, and if they get error messages from web pages. These cookies don't collect information which identifies a visitor. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. It is only used to improve how a website works. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:

  • Google Analytics Cookies
    These are third-party cookies to enable Google Analytics to monitor website traffic. All information is recorded anonymously. Using Google Analytics allows The Society to better understand how members use our site and monitor website traffic. Authentication Cookie
In order for us to ensure that your data remains secure it is necessary for us to verify that your session is authentic (i.e. it has not been compromised by a malicious user). We do this by storing an otherwise meaningless unique ID in a cookie for the duration of your visit. No personal information can be gained from this cookie.

4.4.5. How do you turn cookies off?

All modern browsers allow you to modify your cookie settings so that all cookies, or those types which are not acceptable to you, are blocked. However, please note that this may affect the successful functioning of the site, particularly if you block all cookies, including essential cookies. For example, In Internet Explorer, go to the Tools Menu, then go to Internet Options, then go to Privacy. Here you can change the rules your browser uses to accept cookies. You can find out more in the public sources mentioned below.

4.4.6. Learn more about cookies

4.4.7. Changes to our cookie policy

Any changes we may make to our cookie policy in the future will be posted on the website and, where appropriate, notified to you by email. Please check back frequently to see any updates and changes to our cookie policy.