Friday, June 5, 2015

Cozy Food Friday!

That means it's time to share a recipe from 
another great cozy mystery!

Today I'm featuring a recipe from the cozy mystery 
Book 1 in the Chef Maurice Mystery series
J. A. Lang

First in a new series of British culinary mysteries

“They say one should never trust a thin chef. By this measure, Chef Maurice was very trustworthy indeed.” 

It’s autumn in the Cotswolds, and Chef Maurice is facing a problem of mushrooming proportion. Not only has his wild herb and mushroom supplier, Ollie Meadows, missed his weekly delivery—he’s missing vital signs too, when he turns up dead in the woods near Beakley village. Soon, Chef Maurice is up to his nose in some seriously rotten business—complete with threatening notes, a pignapping, and an extremely well-catered stake-out. Can he solve Ollie’s murder before his home-made investigation brings the killer out for second helpings?

Today's recipe is can't be found in today's book, but is shared from the author herself, J.A. Lang. 
She assures me that it comes from 
Chef Maurice himself. ;-)


Serves 4


6 large onions - around 1.5kg (3 lb)
40g (1.5 oz) unsalted butter
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of thyme
1 tbsp flour
150ml (1/4 pint) dry white wine
750ml (1.5 pints) cold water
Salt for seasoning

Serve with:
bread, comté or gruyère cheese (grated)

Equipment note: You may need two saucepans if one is not large enough to hold all the onions at the start. You can transfer them into one pan once their volume reduces down.


1. Halve, peel and cut the onions into thin slices. (Yes, this looks like a huge amount of onion. Don’t worry, it won’t be by the end.)

2. Put a large saucepan over high heat. Melt the butter until it just starts to sizzle.

3. Add the sliced onion and cover with a lid. Leave the onions to steam in their own juices until slightly softened. This should take 5-10 minutes. (Make sure the onions do not burn to bottom of pan.)

4. Remove the lid. Add the sliced garlic, bay leaf and thyme. Add a large pinch of salt.

5. Leaving the lid off, turn down the heat to low-medium and continue to soften down the onions, stirring occasionally. (This is the longest and most crucial stage.) The onions will slowly start to caramelise, eventually reaching a deep reddish-brown. Scrape down the bottom of the pan at intervals to stop them sticking. The whole process will take 1.5-2 hours. (Yes, I'm afraid so. Don't believe the other recipes that say it takes 20-30 minutes!) Don’t stop too early, and try not to be tempted to turn up the heat.

6. Once the onions are a dark brown sticky mess at the bottom of the pan (see picture), increase the heat to high.

7. Stir in the flour, then pour in dry white wine, leaving on high heat for half a minute to allow alcohol to boil off.

8. Add 750ml (1.5 pints) of cold water, and allow the soup to come to a simmer. Turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

9. Taste the soup, and season with salt if needed. (It’s probably needed.)

10. Ladle into bowls, and serve hot with bread and grated comté or gruyère cheese.

Bon appétit!

For those interested (hands up, fellow food geeks!)
 in the difference between comté and gruyère:

Gruyère is a style of hard, pale yellow cheese with a mild nutty flavour, named after town of Gruyères in Switzerland. Comté (or gruyère de Comté) is made in a similar style, in the Franche-Comté region of eastern France. Both taste fabulous with French Onion Soup!

Images supplied by author J. A. Lang

Doesn't that sound wonderful? 


It’s been some time since I’ve read a book quite like CHEF MAURICE AND A SPOT OF TRUFFLE. This book doesn’t fall in step with today’s cozy mysteries. It’s more in line with traditional British mysteries which makes since because author J. A. Lang is British and she captures the genre perfectly.

This mystery was so intriguing and had an original concept.  It was an enjoyable read that flew by too fast. Ms. Lang has a very fluid writing style that drew me in and made me want to keep reading.

Chef Maurice, owner and head chef of Le Cochon Rouge, is quite a character. Think Hercule Poirot, Columbo, and a robust French chef all rolled into one. There were many times his scenes had me laughing out loud. I can imagine knowing someone like him would be both fascinating, frustrating, and exhausting, but you would still have the utmost respect in him.  

The end of the book, the reveal, brought images of scenes from an Agatha Christie novel. The setting, delivery, and accusation were all done with the same Christie flare.

I enjoyed CHEF MAURICE AND A SPOT OF TRUFFLE immensely and look forward to more adventures with Chef Maurice.

J.A. Lang is a British mystery author. She lives in Oxford, England, with her husband, an excessive number of cookbooks, and a sourdough starter named Bob.

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About the Book: For more info and to read a sample chapter of Chef Maurice and a Spot of Truffle, head over to 

Please keep reading and check out my 
installments of 
Book Beginnings on Fridays
The Friday 56


My Book Beginnings and Friday 56
 for this week are also from 

Book Beginnings on Fridays is a meme hosted by Rose City Reader
Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading

My Book Beginnings...

It had not been a good day. Hamilton knew about good days, and this was not one of them. First there'd been that rude early morning awakening, the sky still dark outside, and a bumpy car ride out into the middle of nowhere.  

The Friday 56 is a meme hosted by Freda's Voice
Rules: *Grab a book, any book. *Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader (If you have to improvise, that's okay.) *Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grab you. *Post it.

My Friday 56...

PC Lucy stared down into the gully. She was not in the best of moods. 

First off, and most definitely first off, was the dead body. Not just any dead body, but the dead body of someone she knew.


Available now!


  1. Hey this looks like a great book! I love the cover! Great Book Beginning :D It makes you wonder what on earth is going on and if the poor sods day will get any better.
    Happy reading!
    Amy x

  2. I've never made my own french onion soup before, but it sounds like I'll have to try it.

    The book sounds good - any detective compared to Columbo must be great!

    Check out my Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings).

  3. This sounds like a book & series I would absolutely love! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Thanks for the recipe, and the review!

  5. Replies
    1. Sounds like my kind of mystery/cozy. And I adore the setting. Adding this one to my list.

      My Friday post:

  6. Thanks, Lisa! Save a big bowl of soup for me! :)

  7. I love soups more and more. Have never heard of a "pignapping."

  8. Thanks for the review and recipe! Both sound great!

  9. I always love how ingenious these food-mysteries are in their blurbs. All the food puns are making me hungry! My sister loves onion soup so I'll send this recipe on to her! Thanks for sharing and for stopping by :) I hope you have a great weekend!
    My Friday post
    Juli @ Universe in Words

  10. Sounds exciting and french onion soup is delicious!

  11. A dead body, especially of someone you knew, would definitely put someone in a bad mood. Great pick!
    Check out my Friday 56

  12. Book sounds. Great. Loved the recipes.

  13. Funny, nothing cheers me up like a corpse!

  14. French Onion soup is one I make during the colder months. :-)
    Happy weekend!

  15. The soup looks and sounds so good. So does the book :)

  16. I love it year around. And the more onions and cheese the better. With huge croutons! Yum!

    My 56 -

  17. great post! the soup sounds great and so does the book.

    thanks for sharing and for stopping by aobiblioclassique™ as well.

  18. The first time I saw an ad for this book, I just knew that I had to get it. In my husband's family, the name Maurice is used for just about every single man either first name or middle name for 8 generations going back to England I guess. His middle name is Maurice too, but that stopped when we adopted our son, he does not have Maurice in his name, but Michael instead. :) So I just know that this book is an omen and that I must order it. I am happy to have another onion soup recipes to try as I have my favorites but won't mind trying another one at all. Thank you for the great blog postings Lisa. I have been so sick that I have not been able to be online much at all. Have definitely not forgotten you, just feeling too awful with the fever, cough, cold, asthma, etc. to be up and online and reading the blogs etc.
    Take care.