Graphic artist Nicole Bouchet, daughter of West End businessman Robert Bouchet of Cartridge World, has published a book of simple, easy recipes that is every bit as lovely as the story that precedes it.
How does a graphic artist come to publish a recipe book? In Nicole Bouchet’s case, it is a matter of family. With French immigrant parents who taught her the love of good food and an encouraging daughter, it was an easy decision for Nicole to put pen to paper and publish her favourite recipes.
It is a familiar story — child declares independence and leaves the nest; child proceeds to call mother from the supermarket every week in a state of distress, asking how exactly what ingredients are required to make pasta.
“My daughter, Laetitia, moved to Sydney and kept asking me to text recipes,” says Nicole. After consistently sending recipes, Nicole decided it would be easier to just make a book for her daughter. A graphic artist, Nicole is no stranger to the printing process; she taught herself how to hard-book bind and created some prototypes.
The resulting book (written, photographed and designed by Nicole) is a cute recipe book simply titled, Simple Recipes that Work. The recipes are a selection of childhood French favourites, and easy recipes created at a time when Nicole was too busy to fuss. “Some of the recipes are handed down from my parents; some I made up,” says Nicole. “I ran my own business and used to come home late and throw things together; I’m really against takeaway.”
Nicole was born in France. Looking for a fresh start, her parents packed up the young family and moved to Australia when Nicole was just two years old. Although they started in Perth, the family would eventually settle in Brisbane where Nicole’s adored father, Robert, now has his well-known West End business, Cartridge World.
“I’ve always been into cooking,” says Nicole. “As a kid, mum would always encourage me to cook. The first time I made a soufflé I wasted a dozen eggs because I couldn’t separate them. Mum is the dessert cook and dad always cooks the salty stuff, he calls himself the ‘salty cook’.”
The book opens with ‘Aigo Boulido’ (a French garlic soup) and is one of Nicole’s favourite recipes. “My parents used to make the garlic soup and it’s so comforting — it reminds me of my childhood,” she says. Nicole also loves the recipe for fish rolls. This dish is as glamorous as it is easy and quick to make, making it a perfect dish for impressing guests at short notice.
However, it is in the sweet section where you will find Nicole’s signature dish — the croquembouche. Nicole whips this up for friends and family at just about every special occasion, making it a tried and tested favourite.
As for Laetitia? She is her mother’s daughter and she loves her childhood dishes of lasagna and carbonara and she couldn’t be more proud. “She rings me every day,” says Nicole. “We’re so close. She tells everyone about her mum and her book.”
Words by Alice Thompson | Images supplied