This should be a blast from the past for anyone who learnt French in the 1980s when the phrase ‘écoutez et répetez’ would be heard in classrooms throughout the land, as we followed the adventures of Monsieur and Madame Marsaud, along with their offspring Jean-Paul, Claudette and Marie-France.
It must have taken them ages to do anything as they had to keep stopping to tell us what they were up to and then had to wait while we repeated it back to them.
And all this was done without the benefit of an interactive whiteboard, a CD player or even a cassette recorder. Teachers would wheel a large contraption into the classroom and play each lesson on a reel to reel tape player. Accompanying textbooks were provided with pictures of the family and handy vocabulary reminders.
So, as a thank you to them for getting so many of my generation through their French O’ level exams, I would cook them these lovely French-inspired pastries. The recipe serves 2 so for all six of us I would multiply it by ‘trois’.
1 pre-rolled puff pastry sheet
1 medium potato, peeled and diced
1 leek, sliced thinly
75g cheddar cheese, grated
75ml double cream
salt and pepper
1 egg yolk or milk to brush
Meanwhile cut 2 large circles and 2 slightly smaller ones from the puff pastry (I made the large ones with a cereal bowl).Place the small circles on a baking tray and top with as much of the filling as you can, leaving a border. Then cover with the second pastry circle. Crimp the edges.Score the top with a spiral pattern and chill.
When you are ready to cook, heat the oven to 180C/ Gas 6.Brush with the egg yolk mixed with a little water or with milk. Then cook for 30-35 minutes until crisp and golden.