Summer Reads: Paris Express by Laura Calder

Laura-Calder-Paris-Express-coverI’m lucky to be spending a fair amount of my summer in Paris again (can you say 7 days and counting?!) but since I recognise that most people can’t, I’m happy to bring you a cheaper way to bring a little bit of Paris to your table this summer – Laura Calder’s latest book, Paris Express.

While many people think of French food as being complicated and time-comsuming, Paris Express proves otherwise.  It’s a book filled with quick-to-prepare, modern recipes and although not every recipe takes 30 minutes or less (as the “Express” part of the title might lead you to believe), these are the types of recipes that will inspire you every day in your kitchen and bring a little piece of the City of Light to your table.  Although Calder started out writing the book as a sort of a “French fast food” cookbook, she quickly realised that it didn’t ring quite true; she says in the introduction that she realised she didn’t know any French people for whom speed was a priority in the kitchen – for some “quick” means 15 minutes, whilst for others 3 hours might be more their idea of a quick meal!  And so Calder changed her tune, moving the focus from “quick” to quick and/ or easy but most importantly, enjoyable to prepare. As she says, “If you’re happy [in the kitchen…] why would you be in a great hurry to get it all over with?  Therein lies the greatest gulf between the attitude towards food in France and that in most other places.”

I’ve honestly marked so many of the recipes in this book that I hardly know where to begin!  I gave this to a dear friend who started cooking from this the day she received it – emailing me “Chicken tagine with oranges and couscous with currants for dinner last night – all made in an hour after we got home from Girl Scouts – LOVE!”  See now THIS is what Laura’s talking about. Bringing the enjoyment back to cooking real, beautiful food.

Calder weaves stories into each recipe – this is as much a “reading for enjoyment” book as a cookbook – and interspersed with the recipes, you’ll find many of her tips for bringing that “je ne sais quoi” to your life, including tips for shopping like a Parisian (hint: it’s not once every two weeks at a big box supermarket!), the importance of salt and pepper (!) and how learning to roast a chicken can change your life (it can!). My only criticism of the book would be that it doesn’t include hands-on or cooking times in the notes for each recipe. Whilst I agree that you shouldn’t choose a recipe based solely on how long it takes to make, sometimes it is helpful to know that information so you can plan ahead.

But really, you can’t go wrong with a cookbook that includes a recipe for one of my all-time favourite French “fast food” meals (the Rotisserie Chicken Dinner) can you?

Rotisserie Chicken in a Paris MarketI highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to create “simple, spontaneous Parisin-style feasts”.

Buy Paris Express on Amazon or Amazon Canada.


A Paris Express giveaway for everyone!

Thanks to the kind folks at Harper Collins Canada I have one copy of “Paris Express” to give away.  And because the shipping is on me, I’m opening this up to all readers worldwide!

How to enter:

There are 2 ways to enter (maximum of two entries per person for the duration of the contest).

1. Leave  a comment on this post telling me what dish makes you think of Paris and why.
2. Tweet the following message: Enter to win @LauraCalder ‘s “Paris Express” from @HarperCollinsCa + @eatlivtravwrite (worldwide!)  Details: http://bit.ly/1neHfm9  then come back to leave a second comment letting me know you did.

Eligibility and contest rules:

– Open to anyone, anwhere.
– No purchase of any product necessary for entry.
– Winner will be chosen randomly (using www.random.org) from all qualified entries on Sunday June 22nd 2014 after 6pm EST.
– Winner will be notified via email Monday June 23rd 2014.


Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of “Paris Express” for review purposes.  I was not asked to write about the book, nor am I being compensated for doing do. All opinions 100% my own.


Please note: The product links from Amazon, Amazon.ca are affiliate links. If you click on these links and purchase the product I have linked to or any other product, I will receive a small percentage of the sale price.

** Congrats Pamela who won my Delicious! giveaway – I’ll be in touch via email!

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61 Responses to Summer Reads: Paris Express by Laura Calder

  1. Mr. Neil June 16, 2014 at 07:51 #

    Mmmm….a good roast chicken ranks as one of my all-time favourite meals, methinks. Makes me think of a nice glass of Alsatian Pinot Gris, or perhaps one of the better Gewurztraminer from Beamsville Bench.

    Mr. Neil may have to check the “express” part of the book out this summer…

  2. Kathryn June 16, 2014 at 08:30 #

    Oh, oh, oh ….

    What a tough question. I don’t even know the proper name for this salad: my cousin calls it Paris Salad (she learned how to make it while visiting Paris). It is a green salad — the ingredients are somewhat fluid. As is often the case with salads, it is the dressing that makes it — a simple vinaigrette with lemon juice, olive oil and garlic. So fresh and tasty.

    I have Laura Calder’s other cookbooks: I am sure that this one is also a delight.



  3. Debbie Clarke June 16, 2014 at 09:08 #

    I retweeted and tweeted !! Yay me

  4. Andrew June 16, 2014 at 09:09 #

    Hi, @uysfaber just tweeted about your book giveaway. Andrew/me…;)…believes the dish that makes him think of Paris the most is a rich Bouillabaisse. And while technically originating from Marseille, Andrew enjoyed several rounds at a small restaurant and will forever associate that delicious food with visiting Paris. Cheers!

  5. Laurie June 16, 2014 at 09:14 #

    Croque Monsieur! Because I ate an insane amount of these sandwiches on my first trip to Paris when I was a freshman in college. Always with frites and a coca light. Not the most sophisticated thing I ate in on my trip or the best, but it always reminds me of Paris.

  6. ryan June 16, 2014 at 09:18 #

    Pain au Chocolat, best way to start the day!

  7. Trevor June 16, 2014 at 09:38 #

    Love Ms. Calder! I’m not sure I could pick one food for Paris…. one? Really? It was the first place I ever had pain au chocolat so I think that might be it. I couldn’t believe chocolat for breakfast and fell in love with the idea. Oh…I tweeted too!

  8. Kathryn June 16, 2014 at 09:52 #

    and tweeted … @kathyrun

  9. Erin June 16, 2014 at 09:54 #

    whee! want this so bad – tweeting done! 🙂

    oh – and pain au chocolat is so Paris. someday I’ll have one there.

  10. Mary Dobson June 16, 2014 at 09:59 #

    Tweeted. Love your books. My favorite is Mountain Chicken but agree with a friend who commented that your cook books are also a “darn good read”

  11. Christina June 16, 2014 at 10:00 #

    I have never been to Paris, but I hope to go someday. When I go I look forward to snacking on bread, cheese, and wine. I would follow that up with a gluttonous dessert from a patisserie.

  12. Christina June 16, 2014 at 10:01 #

    Tweet sent @strawberrysupp

  13. Taylor Fladgate June 16, 2014 at 10:01 #

    tweeted Enter to win @LauraCalder ‘s “Paris Express” from @HarperCollinsCa + @eatlivtravwrite (worldwide!) Details: http://bit.ly/1neHfm9

  14. Annie June 16, 2014 at 10:05 #

    I have never been to Paris thus I am unable to think of a dish that reminds me of Paris. However, one of my goals upon retiring is to study and create foods that I have never tried. Your book could get me started working towards this goal!

  15. Richard June 16, 2014 at 10:07 #

    soufflé. It has always intrigued me, and I can’t wait to visit Paris an authentic one.

  16. Annie June 16, 2014 at 10:07 #


  17. Richard June 16, 2014 at 10:08 #

    Tweeted. Thank you!

  18. Melissa June 16, 2014 at 10:09 #

    Bread (french and brioche) always make me think of Paris. Oh, and macarons! 🙂
    Also, here’s my tweet: https://twitter.com/divabakes/status/478539534276497408
    Thank you for this giveaway!

  19. Tatjana June 16, 2014 at 10:10 #

    Boeuf Bourgignon!! How can you NOT think of Paris.

  20. Anabela June 16, 2014 at 10:11 #

    I tweeted this great giveaway @dam6369

  21. Maggi June 16, 2014 at 10:12 #

    Succulent little yellow-green plums….I don’t know if they were Mirabelle or something else, but they were in all the markets when we were there, and so delicious!

  22. Anabela June 16, 2014 at 10:13 #

    Haven’t yet been to Paris (as an adult!) but hope to go soon. First food I will buy..brioche! Absolute love for me!

  23. Michelle June 16, 2014 at 10:14 #

    Escargot! When I went to Paris in high school, we ordered them because why not!! When the waiter brought them out, he shook the plate a little bit, like they were still alive. We squealed! They were so delicious.
    That and, of course, a Croque Monsieur! Who doesn’t love a rich buttery grilled cheese!

  24. Michelle June 16, 2014 at 10:16 #

    And I just tweeted!!! @michenley

  25. Beth June 16, 2014 at 10:37 #

    Chocolate Crepes remind me of Paris, crepes of any kind really! It was the very first thing I ate when I arrived in Paris, I bought a crepe from a street vendor and sat down on the sidewalk and cried. I couldn’t believe I was in Paris eating crepes, dreams do come true, sometimes.

  26. Sarah June 16, 2014 at 10:55 #

    Baguette smeared with runny cheese, purchased at outdoor market, put together and eaten in the sun on a park bench.

  27. alex June 16, 2014 at 12:10 #

    the very simple crepe always makes me think of Paris – eating a lemon and sugar crepe in front of Notre Dame with my 10 month old daughter, eating a grand marnier crepe by the carousel at night in the bastille district.

  28. alex June 16, 2014 at 12:12 #

    tweeted! @alexcleardesign. thx.

  29. Sandra June 16, 2014 at 12:27 #

    For me a salade niçoise reminds me of Paris. Sitting outdoors at a café, enjoying a light salad on the perfect summer day. And maybe for dessert, a croquembouche 😉 ?

    I have Laura’s other cookbooks and would really enjoy this one as well. Thanks

  30. Natalie June 16, 2014 at 12:56 #

    Macarons always make me think of Paris and they’re probably my favourite treat in the world.

  31. Natalie June 16, 2014 at 13:01 #

    I tweeted: https://twitter.com/natfield84/status/478581994427662336

  32. Alice June 16, 2014 at 13:17 #

    Pies make me think of gallettes which bring me back to Paris! : ) We were always in Paris in January and would hope to get the little ceramic knick-knack in ours but haven’t found it yet… : )

  33. Alice June 16, 2014 at 13:24 #

    tweeted!! : )

  34. Karen June 16, 2014 at 13:54 #

    Croque Monsieur, bought from a streetcart, wrapped in wax paper! My first school trip to Paris when I was 14 years old. Every time I make one or have one in a bistro, I reminisce about the first time I fell in love with Paris!

  35. Karen June 16, 2014 at 13:54 #


  36. Kate I. June 16, 2014 at 14:35 #

    I have loved escargots since I was a child and find myself wishing I were in Paris (or most anywhere in France, really) anytime I enjoy them at home or dining out.

  37. Kate I. June 16, 2014 at 14:37 #

    I tweeted! (@kate_ivan)

  38. kathy June 16, 2014 at 15:01 #

    A gorgeous salad we had at a resto in Montmartre, on rue Abbesses, huge bowl of greens and things and it was topped with crispy hot potato slices….yum!

  39. Karen Stephen June 16, 2014 at 17:09 #

    Anything my daughter cooked during the years she lived in or just outside Paris. From savory or sweet crepes to boeuf bourguignon to avocados stuffed with imitation crab, to homemade chocolate mousse. Even a Kir Royale as an aperitif with two little dishes of peanuts and olives can bring me back to Paris.

  40. Karen Stephen June 16, 2014 at 17:11 #

    Tweeted as instructed. Great social media idea. Heading to Paris today…even better idea.

  41. monty June 16, 2014 at 17:19 #

    As others have mentioned tough to limit to one, but I’m going with Baguette, gonna sneak in some french butter here as well.

  42. Adrienne June 16, 2014 at 17:56 #

    Baguette, ample cheese and a cheap (yet utterly delicious) wine!

  43. Adrienne June 16, 2014 at 17:57 #

    I tweeted! @adriennedlr 🙂

  44. Susan T. June 16, 2014 at 20:53 #

    Nutella and banana crepes because when I was there I ate them every day! 🙂

  45. Susan T. June 16, 2014 at 20:57 #

    My tweet : https://twitter.com/suekitty13/status/478702781981675520

  46. Madonna June 16, 2014 at 21:20 #

    Roast chicken, but I have made several recipes by Laura Calder and they are to die for. Her apple tart is the best I ever ate/made.

  47. Tami June 16, 2014 at 23:25 #

    Just one dish **sigh** …….where do I start??? Would it be Crepes Suzette or fromage?? Maybe Croque Monsieur or truffles….did I mention fromage??

    Croissants, fromage, du pain, fromage, baguettes, coq au vin and of course fromage!!!!

    CHEESE….CHEESE….CHEESE……I so looooove cheese 🙂 WHY?? – Il est très bon, not to mention très jolie!!!!

    As I sadly gaze at the one metre long cheese section in Mount Isa’s supermarket, I dream of the aisles and aisles of cheese in the Parisian supermarket I once visited.

  48. Carol M June 17, 2014 at 12:13 #

    Rabbit stew, so delish

  49. Carol M June 17, 2014 at 12:15 #



  50. Meghan A June 17, 2014 at 23:44 #

    Creme brûlée! There couldn’t be anything more French than breaking that sugary crust.

  51. Renee June 18, 2014 at 14:07 #

    So many wonderful Paris dishes…but one of my favorites is the roasted chicken with the frites. It’s all about being able to dip the fries in the juices. So good!

  52. Renee June 18, 2014 at 14:08 #

    I tweeted about the contest too! https://twitter.com/KitchConundrum/status/479324143595565056

  53. Tami June 18, 2014 at 17:15 #

    YAAAY!!! Finally remembered my Twitter password and tweeted 🙂

  54. Emily June 19, 2014 at 23:56 #

    Love a good banguette with some cheese and ham. Also,love a good croissant and juice in the morning. Those remind me of staying in Paris .

  55. Ali June 20, 2014 at 11:13 #

    I’d say Canelés, even though they’re from Bordeaux. So, a nice croque-monsieur reminds me most of Paris!

  56. Yvonne T. June 20, 2014 at 14:04 #

    Moules Frites definitely reminds me of Paris. A glass of Sancerre in hand on a patio. Oh how I miss France!

  57. Zosia June 20, 2014 at 16:31 #

    Madeleines…….I had my first during a very brief stop over in Paris.

  58. claudine June 21, 2014 at 04:31 #

    Il est tweeter, it has been tweeted! my food from Paris would be beautifully cooked steak frites with a side of sauce Bearnaise and some green beans…mmmmm 😛

    • claudine June 21, 2014 at 04:34 #

      why? probably because I remember having this as a wee girl in Paris with my French Maman and Scottish Dad and I can still smell it, so gooood!

  59. Shana June 22, 2014 at 09:45 #

    Chocolate Mousse plus I tweeted!

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