I love food, and if only I could cook it as well as I can eat it, I’d be a Michelin-starred chef. I can just about manage not to balls up making an omelette, but Cordon Bleu I am not.

I recently began living with a Frenchman, and the greatest thing I have learned from his and his family’s attitude towards food is the importance of eating well. That is; eat the best of everything, in healthy portions, love the produce and treat it sympathetically, eat seasonally and with variety, and enjoy. It is no coincidence that, at the end of a meal, instead of saying they are full, they say “J’ai bien mangé“… “I have eaten well“.

So at the start of 2013 I decided to tackle the basics and not-so-basics of French cooking, learn how to cook, put smiles on faces and try not to make anybody sick. Soupe à l’oignon, cassoulet au confit, tartiflette, boeuf bourginon, coq au vin, poulet farçi aux marrons, pain d’épice, Saint-Honoré, tarte tatin, macarons, Paris-Brest, crème brûlée…

Get the Rennie at the ready.