Cathy Adams on her new cookbook

Cathy Gayner: The ‘English Cook in France’

Cathy Gayner: The ‘English Cook in France’

The SW London-based home cook on her new collection of recipes and helping society’s victims of the pandemic crisis

While many of us spent out locked-down days rediscovering all London had to offer, picking up a book, or indeed refamiliarising ourselves with rusting impulse-bought kitchen utensils, Cathy Gayner went one step further – and wrote an entire cookbook.

The home cook, based in south west London, has created and collated a selection of 125 delicious recipe in her new release, Le Rouzet: An English Cook in France, with the collection having received high praise from the likes of Rick Stein and Alain Roux, just to name a few, already.

More than just a passion project, Cathy is hoping to raise valuable funds for people struggling with the effects of the pandemic crisis. Charity is close to the cook’s heart, with much of her time spent running Age Unlimited – a charity that supports both the elderly and the marginalised young.

Below, Cathy shares two recipes from the cookbook, out this month; a Red Onion Tarte Tatin and a Walnut Tart. Having spent the past 50 summers in France cooking for loved ones, her takes on these homely classics aren’t to be missed.

Le Rouzet: An English Cook in France by Cathy Gayner is out now – click here to read more and purchase. Images credited to James Murphy.

Red Onion Tarte Tatin – Serves 6

Ready-rolled puff pastry is too thin for this recipe, so use the kind of pastry that’s sold in a block. I always buy pastry that has extra butter in it, but if you can’t find any, simply roll out the block of pastry, spread it with butter, fold it over and roll it out again, ready to use.


  • 30g butter
  • 1kg red onions, cut into 2cm slices
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 60g sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 225g frozen puff pastry, defrosted


  • Melt the butter in a frying pan big enough to hold the onion slices in one layer.
  • Add the onions, sprinkle half the sugar over them and season. Pour in enough cold water to barely cover the onions.
  • Bring to the boil and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the onions are tender and the water has evaporated, leaving a sticky glaze.
  • Butter a 23cm cake tin really well and sprinkle it with the remaining sugar. Scatter the sundried tomatoes evenly over the base and then arrange the onions on top as neatly as possible.
  • Roll out the pastry thinly and lay it over the onions, tucking the pastry in around the sides.
  • Cook at 220°C/Fan 200°C/Gas 7 for 30 minutes until the pastry is golden.
  • Cover the tin with a large plate and carefully turn it upside down and on to the plate. The onions will be on the top.

Walnut Tart – Serves 4-6

This is very much a part of Le Rouzet menus in the early autumn, when our walnuts are beginning to ripen and every tree seems to have a red squirrel perched in it, noisily eating our supply. It’s like a sophisticated treacle tart, but not heavy, and is really worth making even if you don’t have large quantities of walnuts to use up.



  • 110g butter
  • 140g flour
  • 30g icing sugar


  • 20g butter
  • 200g golden syrup
  • 100g walnut halves
  • a pinch of mixed spice
  • 100g mixed peel
  • 4 madeleines (or soft amaretti), crumbled
  • 1 egg, beaten


  • Put all the ingredients for the pastry into a food processor and mix until the dough forms a ball.
  • Press the dough into a 20cm tart tin with a removable base. Prick the pastry all over really thoroughly, even up the sides (this will prevent shrinkage), then chill in the fridge.
  • Cook in a preheated oven at 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4 for 15 minutes or until golden.
  • Melt the butter and syrup in a pan and stir in all the other ingredients. Pour into the pastry case and cook at 190°C/Fan 170°C/Gas 5 for 15 minutes.
  • Cool in the tin but as soon as you can, loosen the edges of the tart or it will get stuck.
  • Serve with crème fraîche.