James May: Oh Cook! (2020–2023): Season 2, Episode 1 - French Classics - full transcript

James sets the bar high by taking on some classic dishes from France, the home of haute cuisine. Expect oniony thrills and soupy spills as he tries to sort out his croque from his coq.

Are you wondering how healthy the food you are eating is? Check it - foodval.com
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- [James] So we're doing it from...?
- [Tom] From the top. Yes.

- But-but Gary's over there.
- [Tom] I know.

And his camera's not pointing at me.

- Well, yeah, it is. It is.
- [crewman] It's rewired.

- [James] See what happens.
- [Tom] Just see what happens.

- Okay?
- [James] Yes.

[Tom] All right, and...

- action.
- Hello, viewers.

My name is James May,

and if you were watching
season one of Oh Cook!,

you will know that at this point, I say,



"And I can't cook."

Unfortunately, though,
that is no longer true.

I am now the author of
a moderately best-selling book.

Here it is.

As a result of this book,
I now know what I'm doing.

Or do I?

♪ ♪

Wait.

Yes, believe it or not,

I know my way around a kitchen.

Only this one, though.

After some glowing reviews,

Amazon agreed to another series.

His review says simply,
"Absolute ...," but then



he gives us five stars.

And this time, we've gone truly global,

making classics from France, Japan,

Mexico and Germany,
via a 1970s dinner party

and a very British summer picnic.

As usual, the crew will be...
"helping" me.

Bollocks. Shut up at the back.

And of course,
so will home economist Nikki.

Hello, fridge cam.
I'll leave you to sweat.

[James] I'll be trialing more gadgets...

Brilliant!

- [buzzing]
- Stop!

...battling with some others...

Aah! All right. Aah!

...and finessing my techniques...

-...all with the aim of producing...
- Oh!

...some pretty decent home-cooked treats.

Oh, well, that is wonderful.

- It's wonderful.
- Mmm!

The theme of this episode
is French classics.

- [Tom] Yeah, carry on.
- Do I continue? Okay.

[laughter]

Right, the reason we're doing
French classics is because,

to a lot of British people,

that is a very aspirational cooking idea.

If you are a great chef,
you should be able

to cook some French things,

because French cooking
is marvelous and, uh,

they take everything very seriously,

they take the process seriously,

they take the ingredients seriously.

And we're going to have a, essentially,

a three-course supper here.

So we're going to start
with the starter of this meal,

which is French onion soup,

or, as they call it
in France, "onion soup."

It begins, like all things French,

with butter, 75 grams of it,

plus two teaspoons of dark brown sugar

and a whole kilo of onions.

You can use any old onions,
but it's ideally a Roscoff onion

because they have the correct
blend of sweetness and acidity,

it says in my notes.

Are we gonna actually show me
chopping all these onions up?

This is a bit boring.

Hang on.

- [knocking]
- Nikki?

- Hi.
- Hello. Do you have some...?

- You do.
- I do.

The onions pre-chopped.

So, once you've chopped your onions,

- they will look like this.
- [Nikki] Did you not chop any?

Well, yeah, I cut that one in half.

[Tom] That onion's
a bit manky, James, as well.

- Do you want to check the onion
you just chopped?
- Well, I did,

but I thought maybe a
Roscoff onion looks like that.

- No.
- Because of the blend
of sweetness and acidity.

[Nikki] Which bit's the sweet bit?

- [James] That bit.
- Oh, that's the manky bit.

It's manky. Okay.

To soften the non-manky onions,
first melt the butter.

- Okay, I'll leave you to sweat.
- [James] Thank...

- Thank you.
- Your onions.

Yes.

Onions are going into the melted butter.

That's a lot, isn't it?

Sweat your onions
in the butter for ten minutes,

then add the brown sugar.

The next thing I'm going to do,

just because you really
don't want to overdo this,

and you don't want to burn things,

is I'm going to move it
onto the smaller ring

by setting fire to the wooden
handle of the spoon, like that,

and then put the lid on, which is here.

And this is an excellent
editing device, as well,

because by the magic
of television, we can now cut

to a shot where that lid comes back off,

and those onions have been
cooking for an hour,

and they've gone nice and brown

and soft and aromatic and lovely.

Here it comes.

Ta-da! Look at those. Those look lovely.

They're all brown and soft and mushy,

and I can now bring in
some more ingredients,

balancing very carefully,
because they include

a glass of white wine,

which is not for me
to drink, unfortunately.

It's to go in the soup.

Although I do need to make sure
it's okay. Is it?

Chop two cloves of garlic for the crusher,

add one teaspoon of English
mustard powder... sorry, France...

and measure out
two tablespoons of plain flour.

Right, just a tiny bit more heat.

Just stir the garlic in.

But now, I'm now going to add the mustard.

Bit of a delicate point, this,

because this is English mustard
powder, for several reasons.

One is, it works
particularly well in this,

but also because there's
a bit of a shortage of mustard,

Dijon mustard in particular, in France,

because of global warming,
various wars that are going on,

the cost of seeds and so on.

So, I'm sure the French
are quite cross about it.

They have to use the English stuff.

I'm now adding flour.

Flour, obviously, will help
the whole thing thicken up.

I'm gonna let that cook for two minutes,

which you won't have to endure onscreen.

We now add a small shot of vinegar...

in that goes...

and my glass of French white wine.

I'm going to add this beef stock,

and we're going
to add this sprig of, um...

What the hell's it called?

- [crewman] Thyme.
- What's it called? Thyme. Thank you.

Here it goes. 850 mil.

And now I can turn the heat back up again,

but don't put the lid on,

because this is now all going to reduce.

It will go thicker,

and it will start to look delicious.

Now, cut the croutons

from part of the very fabric of France,

a baguette.

These are going to go
on the top of the soup,

and we need to, um,
grate some Gruyère cheese.

You are familiar with the mouli grater

from series one, oft restored.

Cheese goes in there. Have you
got that? This is cheese.

With the Gruyère grated,

pop the bread slices in the toaster,

then add the finishing touches
to the soup.

Right, that has simmered away
for about an hour.

I'm also now going
to add a dash of brandy.

What is a dash? I'm going
to say it's... that.

I'm going to give that a stir.

I'm also going to reach
for a spoon so that

I can give it a little taste.

Cor, I've definitely
put some brandy in that.

It's time to plate up in these bowls,

and I'm now a professional cook,

so presentation is paramount.

Here we go.

Mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm.

I'll give that a wipe in a minute.

Bollocks.

- Shut up at the back.
- [man chuckles]

Here goes the piece of baguette.

Top each slice with a generous
helping of that cheese,

then place under the grill.

[clears throat]

- [knocking]
- Nikki?

- [Nikki] Hello?
- Your French onion soup

- [French accent] is ready.
- Oh.

- Oui, monsieur.
- Step this way, please.

The crew were mocking me
for spilling a bit of the soup

down the side of the bowls,
but I think that's...

- authentic.
- Authentic.

Yes, thank you.

- [Nikki] And they haven't sunk.
- They haven't sunk.

[crewman] Nikki, sorry.
You got spares of those?

Oh, for the lazy Susan, you mean?

- [crewman] Yeah.
- Yeah, yeah, we can do...

Oh, I forgot about all that.

Bloody lazy Susan.

Et voilà, my French onion soup,

topped with a cheesy slice of baguette.

- [Nikki] Mmm.
- That's not bad, is it?

Very... I can taste the brandy.
Just put your...

- Wait. Did I overdo the brandy?
- Oh, I like it. It's good.

[James] As usual, this is
meaningless to you, because

you can't taste that.

Only we can,
and it's absolutely delicious.

It was quite elegantly
presented, but now it looks...

[James] Presentation in food, I...

It is important, I suppose, but

ultimately, it all ends up

in your alimentary canal,
doesn't it? So...

[laughing] Oh, God.

[James] With our onion soup
digesting nicely,

it's time to get our teeth
into France's national symbol.

Right, now we come onto the main
course of this French feast,

which is coq au vin,
or, in English, "cock in wine,"

and it's quite complicated. It involves

two pans, a casserole and a saucepan,

and a lot of things
going in and coming out

and then being added again
and taken out again and so on.

What we need is a system of shorthand,

like Pitman's, that journalists use,

or maybe Benesh Notation,

which is used for, um, choreography.

So, we've got a blackboard on the, uh,

on the door of Nikki's cupboard.

So, I've... I've only
just thought of this,

so I don't know how it's gonna work.

So if we say casserole there,
and pan here...

I'm going to put...
So this indicates "in," wine,

and then I add the carrot, celery.

That's confusing already,

so that'll have to be "ca," "celery."

In the pan I put in the, um,

bacon, which we'll call "bacon,"

but then the bacon comes back out again.

Something like that, anyway.
Let's just see how we get on.

Chop the stick of celery,

half an onion and a carrot
into chunky pieces,

then add to a pan with
a bay leaf, a sprig of thyme

and a whole bottle of pinot noir.

Oh, you can use another red wine,

but if you want to be authentic,
use a pinot noir.

I find, as a drinking wine, pinot noir,

unless it's the really posh
stuff, is a little bit... thin.

So I'm going to drink this,
a Saint-Émilion,

which will be delightful.

That's not bad.

Meanwhile, with this pan,

we're going to start frying
and cooking various other bits.

Heat one tablespoon of olive oil,

then add 200 grams of
roughly-chopped streaky bacon.

Bacon bits go in the pan.
There you are. Sizzling.

Right, here is some flour.

The flour has been seasoned
with salt and black pepper.

What we're going to do
with this flour is dust

the surfaces of the chicken.

Bacon comes out, but we've got to leave

as much of that fatty juice
behind as possible,

which is what the chicken
will now be fried in.

Fry your floury chicken in the
bacon fat until golden brown.

I'm going to go and get Nikki out,

see how she thinks I'm doing.

- [Nikki] Hello?
- Nikki?

- Hi.
- Hello. Would you like to, um...?

- Would you like a glass of red?
- Ooh, yes, please.

[James] Right, I'll do you that first,

and then if you could
have a look at my, uh...

That's looking good. Chicken...

this piece of chicken is nearly...

That one needs to brown a little bit.

- [James] That's for you.
- Thank you very much.

[James] An elegant portion.

Yeah, you're nearly there on that,

and then we can go onto the next bit...

Which is I add the butter
in with the fat and the oil,

and then I do the shallots.

No, you do the mushrooms first.

- Sorry, mushrooms.
- With the butter.

- And take them out again.
- Yes.

Right, so I just need
to add that to my chart.

- So, once that chicken has come out...
- What is this?

...you then... it's in with the
mushrooms, but then out again.

- Oh, I don't understand any of that.
- Well, no.

- It's work in progress, so...
- Well, that's good.

[James] Once browned,
remove the chicken from the pan.

Mushrooms are going in.

What we're doing with these,
again, is-is browning them off.

Take out the mushrooms
once they've browned,

then repeat with your shallots.

If you just put everything in,

you'd effectively have boiled
chicken with boiled mushrooms

- and boiled bacon, wouldn't you?
- Yes, you...

Boiled in wine,
and it would taste of wine,

but it wouldn't have any of those nice

caramelly flavors in it.

Exactly, and it gives it a nice color.

[James] And it makes it a lovely color.

- Cheers. It's all right?
- This is quite, um...

It's lovely, thank you.

[James] I know some people are gonna say,

"Oh, well, this show is just...

It's abusing alcohol."

There will be a warning on it that says,

"Sexual content, swearing,
foul language, drug abuse,"

by which they mean we have a drink.

Cooking is something to do,

it's recreational, it's
something to do with your hands

- whilst you're having a drink.
- [laughs]

The next thing that happens is
a little bit of that wine

is put into this casserole
and is used to deglaze it.

Don't think, "Oh, God, I've got
to clean that off later."

You clean it off as part
of the cooking process,

and when this is done,

the pan will actually be
just lightly smeared

with, um, with, uh, coq.

- Vin. With one of those. Um...
- [laughter]

So we'll just put a bit of that...

Oh, man in heaven. Bit more of that.

[sizzling]

Add the chicken and bacon back
into the now deglazed pan,

then break out the brandy,

because it's time to get chefy.

We're flambéing it,
and this will give it the flavor

of on-fire brandy.

[Nikki] Stand back.

- Over?
- [James] Yeah.

- And then...
- [Nikki] Ooh, yeah.

It is still burning, actually,
slightly. Yes, look at that.

Right, so we can put these
other bits and pieces back in,

that reduced wine, with all those flavors

from the-the herbs, the onion,
the carrot and the celery,

and we're going to put the lid on

and leave that for about an hour.

Thank you for watching.
See you in an hour's time.

Here is a picture of, um,
a terracotta warrior.

So that is one page of notation

to describe what is quite
a complicated process.

So it goes wine plus carrot,
celery, um, whatever that was.

That's boiled, in the "B,"
and then in the casserole,

so this is... Sorry, that's the casserole.

I've written that the wrong way
around. That should have been

"pan," this should have been "casserole,"

but ignore that. So oil goes in,
because it's being browned,

and then you put the mushrooms in

and take them out again,

the shallots in and out again,

and then both of those go back in,

with a splash of the red wine,

and then, the rest
of the red wine mixture,

which has already reduced by now, goes in.

Lid off. Sorry, lid on, for about an hour,

and lid off
for about 15 minutes at the end

to get some air in and to reduce
it, and that's where we are now.

And it's ready.

Right. After you.

Mmm.

God, you can taste the smoky bacon.

Mmm. It tastes like a
wood-burning stove, doesn't it?

- [laughs]
- It's quite smoky.

Shall we try dismembering the chicken?

[Nikki] Um, I'm going to.

- Mmm.
- Mmm?

Mmm. Chicken is beautiful.

- Uh...
- Oh, it is quite good. Mmm.

[Nikki] It's really good. It's brilliant.

I would actually be inclined
to eat it straight from the...

- Straight from the pot?
- Put that in the middle of the room,

throw everybody a piece of bread.

- [Nikki] Exactly.
- Dive in.

- Mmm.
- [Nikki] I'm very impressed.

- Thank you, oh, master.
- [laughs]

[James] Now it's time for pudd:

tarte tatin.

To get started, you'll need five apples,

50 grams of butter, of course,
100 grams of sugar

and a 500-gram block
of premade puff pastry.

I know some people object
to premade pastry,

but the fact is, it's brilliant.

In a future edition of Oh Cook!,

maybe we'll have a go
at making our own puff pastry.

Will there be a future edition?

Well, it's funny we should
bring that up, because,

um, I'd just like to read
to you maybe one or two

of the one-star reviews from the
previous edition of Oh Cook!,

um, which are quite damning.

Uh, Amazon customer says,
the headline: "Crap."

His review: "Crap, crap, crap."

Uh, V Manics from the United States,

thank you very much for your contribution.

Headline: "Bollocks."

His review says simply,
"Absolute bollocks,"

but then he gives us five stars.

It's very odd.

But anyway, because of this,

um, we have an executive
from Amazon with us.

He's just behind camera. He's called Harj.

I think he has a file of
incriminating evidence with him.

Um, you'd probably...
you'd probably quite like

to read a few more to us, Harj,
if you've got some ready?

Yeah. "Watching this show to
learn about cooking, gastronomy,

is like approaching a scribbling toddler

in the foolish expectation

that you'll learn
how to practice fine art."

- Right.
- "Terrible.

Even at these bad times,
this is absolute garbage."

- Keep going. It's all right,
I can take it.
- All right.

"Next they'll get Leonardo
DiCaprio to paint a bathroom.

Because why not?"

- Actually, that's a good idea.
- [laughter]

"James May being James May
promoting some book.

I hope he got paid in advance

as didn't make it through
ten minutes of this sh..."

Yes, all right, okay, we've got the drift.

- [laughter]
- Is some people didn't like it.

Now all the compliments have
been passed to the chef,

it's time to begin.

Take your puff pastry out of the fridge

and ready your rolling pin.

This has to be rolled out to a thickness

of about, well, five millimeters or so.

That's probably about right.

Yes.

So, using the very pan in which
we are going to make this,

we can take a sharp knife
and cut around it.

Right, that can go back in the
fridge so that it stays cool,

which is important with pastry.

To prepare the apples,

I'm testing out a new kitchen gadget.

It's available from Amazon.

[James] I wonder if we could
actually get Harj in

to do some of this,

as an executive
from the world of television

could actually do something useful.

Yeah. I don't know if this is
part of my job description,

- but I'll give it a go.
- Yup. Peel.

- If you could peel all of those...
- [quiet laughter]

um, and then cut them into
quarters, cut the core bit out,

and then add them to this lemony water.

Do you not have a fancy tool for this?

[James] That is a fancy tool.

Okay, I'm-I'm going out here
to... do something.

Have a slash, in case you were wondering.

[Harj] I bet they don't
make you do this at Netflix.

[laughter]

- Feel like I've been done up
like a kipper here.
- I know.

Doing a great job.

- Fancy doing a cooking show?
- [laughs]

[James] Right, I've done that.

Now we're going to look
at caramelizing the sugar,

which, first, I spread
evenly over the pan.

Okay, and now we're going

to heat that very gently
without disturbing it,

until it goes slightly golden.

Now, the origins of
the tatin tarte are, apparently,

that it was a mistake
by the Tatin sisters,

who were called Stephanie and Caroline.

They were making a regular tart
of some sort,

and accidentally put it
in the oven upside down.

Now, I think this story is a bit suspect,

because how could you...?

You know, that's like accidentally

parking your car upside down.

It's a fundamental error. But anyway,

they were called "the Tatin sisters,"

and that's why it's known
as "tarte tatin."

Wow. This is a very exciting
moment, viewers,

because this sugar has
almost completely melted.

Right, we can turn the heat off

and put the massive dollop of butter in.

Once melted, arrange
your apple slices on top.

I don't know who cut these apples up.

They made a terrible job of it.

They're all completely different shapes.

Ow! Bastard!

I've preheated the oven to 200 degrees.

Here is my puff pastry circle.

Going to put that on there.

Tuck the edge of your pastry
circle underneath your apples.

See, the pan is hot,
and it's got to sort of

just go under the edges
of the... Aah, aah.

Maybe with that slim wooden spoon.

Let's give that a go.

It's a bit like getting
a bicycle tire bead

inside the rim.

The pan goes into the oven,

like that,

and then you shut the oven door again.

It is very important to remember
when you take that pan back out,

in about 20, 25 minutes' time,
that you use an oven glove.

It's a frying pan. It's got a handle.

You're used to being able to hold it,

but you can't
if it's been in the oven, okay?

To go with our tatin,
we'll be making calvados cream,

which starts with 300
milliliters of whipping cream

and one tablespoon of icing sugar.

Probably add half of that to
start with, see what happens.

[Nikki] Yes. It's about, uh,
just over a tablespoon.

[James] So, uh... about that?

Lightly whip the cream and sugar together

to form soft peaks.

- Speed it up a bit?
- Yeah.

[Nikki] Oh, you're nearly there now.

[James] I think
that's about there, isn't it?

- [Nikki] Yeah, yeah.
- Yeah, okay.

- Yes.
- Yes.

[James] Ooh, I might have
even gone slightly too far.

Never mind. We'll... we can put
something in it to loosen it.

- How about some calvados?
- Brilliant plan.

That's a good idea, isn't it?

About one tablespoon,
would you say? A bit more?

[Nikki] Start with a tablespoon.

I'm not going to be able to taste it now.

I'm just gonna... I'm just gonna guess.

Uh... that's about a tablespoon.

And, yeah, and fold it through.

[James] Just a tiny bit more
if you say so.

- [Nikki] Yeah. [laughs]
- I don't think

you could really have too much,
could you? I mean...

We might as well get rid of the cream

and just pour the calvados on it.

[James] Stir through,
then return to the fridge.

Right. This is, once again,
a very exciting moment.

I've remembered to put the oven glove on

before I remove the...

Ooh, yes, it's sort of
crackling away a bit.

I have been told that a test

of whether or not
this is cooked correctly,

apart from that
it's gone a bit brown, is, um,

if we stick a fork or two in it,

it should rotate in the pan.

So let's see if it does.

Right, that is rotating.

- Agreed?
- [crewman] Mm-hmm.

Yup, okay. I think
we can have a crack at this.

We put the plate on there.

Anybody got any objections
before I do this?

It's a one-shot wonder.

[rattling]

[laughter]

You laughed too soon.

That looks a bit fab, I think.

Voici. Tarte tatin, to be served

with a generous helping of calvados cream.

- [knocking]
- Nikki?
- Yes?

Your tarte tatin is ready.

That is very impressive.

- [James] Is that good?
- That's really good.

- Would you like a bit?
- Yes, I would.

Perfectly cooked pastry.

- [James] Not too much of that, then.
- [Nikki laughs]

There's more in the fridge.

Mmm.

- Is it?
- Mmm.

Mmm. Pretty calvados-y, but that's good.

- [James] Funny, that.
- [laughs]

Is it blazing hot? I know you'll say "no,"

but you're made out of industrial...

It's not as hot
as other things we've eaten.

O.M.G. It's actually quite nice.

[Nikki] Better than quite nice.
It's really nice.

- It sticks in your teeth. I enjoy that.
- Mmm.

So, what can we conclude from that?

[Nikki] That you're quite good
at French cooking.

- Well, we haven't finished yet.
- Why?

Because if the

massive bowl of onion soup

and the absolutely gigantic coq au vin

and the incredibly rich and sugary

tarte tatin weren't enough,

we're going to have a little culinary coda

in the form of a croque monsieur.

Ooh, I like a croque monsieur.

[James] And even though
we're stuffed to the gills,

we are contractually obliged
to show you this fourth recipe.

So here it is.

Now, the croque monsieur
has a very interesting history.

Please bear with me on this.

It started life
as a cheese and ham toasty,

a British invention,
but it was stolen from us

by the French at Agincourt.

Now, the story goes

that the English archers liked to make

cheese and ham toasties
on the ends of their arrows,

which made handy toasting forks.

Now, as we know,

the French aristocracy
attacked the English,

and they got stuck
in the mud, unfortunately,

and the English archers fired off volley

after volley of, uh, arrows,

and, unfortunately,
slaughtered the lot of them.

One man... we don't know who he was...

inadvertently fired his arrow

without taking the cheese
and ham toasty off first.

It pierced a toff's breast

and left him mortally wounded,
dying on the ground.

Now, at this point,
a French foot soldier came past,

saw the cheese and ham toasty and thought,

"I like the look of that."
He pulled the arrow out,

and in doing so,
saved the aristocrat's life,

because the molten cheese
cauterized the wounds

that would otherwise have
become infected and killed him.

Now, this foot soldier,
fortunately for history,

survived the battle,

took the cheese and ham toasty
home to his wife,

and they tried it,
decided it was excellent,

and they refined the idea a bit,

and in honor of the injured toff

whose life he'd saved,
although he didn't know that,

he named it the "croque monsieur."

[crewman] We have to now
apologize for telling lies.

Who's to say it's not true?

[crewman] Well, the notes
you were given say

it's absolutely not true.

[laughter]

Who believed it?

There you go.

The man from Amazon believed it.

[laughter]

Right, the ingredients are
cheese and ham, obviously,

milk and cream for the sauce,
'cause it's French,

butter, more butter in there,
which I've already melted,

an onion with some cloves
stuck in it to infuse it

and a bay leaf. We have some flour.

We have some Dijon mustard.

Very rare, at the moment, of course,

and pretty much priceless.

We begin by putting the milk
and the cream in a pan.

Add your clove-studded onion and bay leaf,

bring to the boil,
then take it off the heat

and let it stand for 20 minutes to infuse.

Meanwhile, brush the four slices of bread

with some melted butter.

'Cause there wasn't enough
butter in this so far,

or indeed, in this day.

So that's buttery side up,
under the grill, on quite high.

Once infused,

remove your onion
and bay leaf from the pan.

Now we are going to make, effectively,

a béchamel sauce
by turning on this saucepan.

Melt 25 grams of butter,
then slowly add flour

and stir until it thickens. Or not.

Nikki?

- Can I just ask a bit of advice?
- Yeah.

I don't think I measured out
quite enough flour. That's...

Should be... Yeah, 25, 25.

Do you want to put a little bit more in?

Do you want to put a bit more?

I think I'll put a pinch more
in if you're unhappy,

- and then I think that's right.
- I'm not unhappy.

- I just don't know.
- Okay.

I'm going to move it off the heat

'cause it's getting a bit bubbly.

Do you want a spoon with a corner?

[James] Spoon with a corner.

What's that called?

- Sporner.
- Spoon with a... "Sporner."

Spoon with a corner, so that
gets into the edges of the pan

so you don't end up
with sort of claggy cement...

Oh, look. This is working. Oh, wow.

- We've put too much flour in.
- [laughs]

Shall we put a bit more milk in
and pretend it didn't happen?

This is perfect, the way
this sauce is working out.

- Look at that consistency.
- That's fantastic.

[James] Now, we have to get things

in the correct order on the toast,

and as we're making two,
we do have the option

of turning one into a croque madame,

which is exactly the same,
but with a fried egg on the top.

- That's correct, isn't it?
- That is correct.

[James] That's good, isn't it?

Would you like a drink of anything?

I'm all right at the moment, thank you.

[Nikki laughs]

Do you want to check? That's catching now.

Yeah, that's looking good.

You think that...
See, I like burnt toast, but there's...

Oh, I don't.

That's perfect. That's exactly perfect.

[James] Okay. Perfeto.

Okay, there's my four pieces of bread.

So now, very skillfully,
we turn the pieces

of toasted... half-toasted bread,

'cause they're only done on one side.

We turn those over,

and we can be ready

to make the inside
of the monsieur and madame

with the rare Dijon mustard,
a bit of a smear on each piece.

This is about 400 pounds' worth
of Dijon mustard

we're using at the moment,

given the scarcity value of the stuff.

Okay, now we can add some sauce.

Smear of sauce on two pieces,

- 'cause this is the inside
of the sandwich now.
- Oh.

[crewman] Can you find another
word apart from "smear"?

Do you not like the word "smear"?

Spread, coat, anoint.

Sprinkle the cheese.

Piece of ham.

Ooh, it's going to hang out
of the sides, which is nice.

Lid goes on.

- [Nikki] That way, and then you put...
- Oh.

- Yes, that way. No, that way.
- Yes.

- No. No, that way.
- No. That... Is it that way?

That way, and then you put
another layer of sauce

- Then you put... Sorry.
- ...and some more cheese.

Yes, I was talking complete nonsense.

[James] Okay, then another,

another, um...

skein of sauce.

I wonder if any actual French people...

I mean, I do know a few...
are watching this

and are going to immediately write in

and say, "Monsieur May,
you complete bastard,

your story about Agincourt was nonsense.

Your croque monsieur is
inelegant and crass and lumpen,

just like you rosbifs are,"
and they might have a point.

I mean, admittedly,

the presentation
could be a little bit tidier,

but that's the basic idea.

Bake for ten to 15 minutes
until bubbling and golden.

Would you like a little bit

- of the red?
- Yes, I would, please.

Uh, this is your glass, isn't it?

- Cheers. Cheers.
- Cheers, viewers.

- Okay. Cool.
- That's beginning to happen.

I will put the heat on there,
whilst we just sum up

my first ever French cooking experience.

I've never made any
of these things before.

I'm not sure I've ever really
made anything French before,

and I'm surprised, if I'm honest,

at how well this has turned out.

- Haven't tasted this one yet.
- That is true.

Finally, fry the egg to top your madame.

That just needs a nice dollop
of tomato ketchup.

It'll be great.

- Kidding.
- [laughs]

[James] Monsieur et madame.

Which one would you like, madame?

- Half of each, please.
- Oh, would you?

- Yes, I would.
- Okay.

Ooh, it's oozy. Lovely.

[James] There you go.

Which one are you going to go for first?

- Monsieur.
- Oui, monsieur.

Mmm.

It is so good.

[muffled] Oh, uh, that's wonderful.

- It's wonderful. Mmm. Mmm.
- Mmm. Mmm. Mmm!

We tend to associate French
cooking with a great deal

of intellectualism and pomposity...

not just by the French,
I mean, actually probably more

by everybody else
in the world... but actually,

those aren't that complicated.

You can relax and take your time,

put a lot of butter in,

'cause that's what makes it
taste fantastic.

Um, have a go.

- Ours have all worked.
- Yeah.

I thought one of those would
end up in the bin,

but, no, they're all pretty good.

- Even the crew have eaten them.
- [chuckles]

Why not join us again in the next episode,

where we make more food,

and once again say to you,
dear viewer, Oh Cook!

♪ ♪