It’s no surprise that Harry Eastwood has revised French cooking in many ways to recreate classic French dishes with lower calories. But that’s only scratching the surface since Harry has a unique style that stands on its own for a whole new generation that is seeking to be more health-conscious.
Mentally embracing the process of cooking
Harry had grown up in France since the tender age of 4 and embraced many facets of eating styles that many of us are exposed to. She was an avid animal activist in her early years of being an extreme Vegetarian and partook in demonstrations that were opposed to the eating of veal. After three years of opposing the eating of meat and dairy, she made a conscious decision to return to eating meat and dairy in a whole new way.
Harry then went on to spend the next 15 years researching meat in all of its aspects and even served as an apprentice to a butcher in her early 20s. Her book entitled “Carneval“, published in 2016 is her love letter of 100 meat-inspired recipes and sauces from around the world. Her quest for knowledge now embraces free-range, organic, and select farm meat varieties. She even includes a Foie Gras Maison recipe in her book that’s also ethical.
If that’s not enough, Harry places more emphasis on a method of cooking that replaces the deep-seated tradition of using many types of fats, butter, and sauces in her recipes. Her process of alteration rather than substitution has drawn minor French food criticism
Longer meal periods
The French are accustomed to having a lunch that lasts at least 2 hours and is a leisurely traditional affair. Harry Eastwood understands that these meals are served in three plates of lunch over that period, allowing you to digest this meal proportionately. But one of the drawbacks to today’s lunch breaks will encompass eating a large meal in a very short amount of time. Harry is a firm believer in taking time to eat rather than eating all at once.
This is not always easy for most working-class people, which often need to eat their meal at their desk or on the go. The only time we can usually enjoy this freedom is on the weekend. This isn’t a bad thing, but of course, breaking bad eating habits is fairly difficult if you don’t have a flexible lunch schedule already.
Changes in deep frying
Harry also has a different approach to deep-frying that gives the surface of many traditional fried French foods have a different texture and crunch. Instead of breading the surface of something that’s fried, her method is to double-breaded twice. This means that it’s dropped in egg and then into breadcrumbs a second time so it gets very crispy. There’s no mention if she is using Panko bread crumbs, which would be crispier with just a single coating.
For the hot oil, she is only using 3 tablespoons of oil instead of a saucepan full of oil. This ultimately means that the level of oil is more akin to pan-frying than regular deep frying. The oil that is absorbed into breaded meats will instantly make the surface crispy, while the pan heat will cook the meat within the breaded coating keeping in the juices. You can see a sample of this recipe used for breaded camembert cheese.
Her fried chicken recipe is likely cooked Sous Vide beforehand before it gets breaded, so the chicken is cooked to perfection.
More vegetable dishes
Harry is still a big fan of vegetables, not that her past has anything to do with this, but the generous use of veggies that are commonly found in French dishes. Her approach to eating more vegetable side dishes and mixed meat and veggie meals is one of the hallmarks of French cooking. Of course, the essential part of eating vegetables is that they will be at their peak of freshness.
One of Harry Eastwood’s favorite choices is organic and pesticide-free, but you can get around this by simply finding a local Farmer’s Market that will offer cheaper alternatives.
The organic food you buy at the supermarket that is marketed towards vegetarians is often three times the cost of regular fruits and vegetables. This is why we recommend Farmer’s Market fruits and veggies that are using natural pesticides that are cheaper than the store.
Use of leaner meats
Another solution that reduces the calories n French cooking from the perspective of Harry Eastwood is to use lean and select cuts of meat. While most French recipes call for rich and adequate cuts of meat that release natural flavors and fats as it cooks. The older methods that used richer and fattier meats also took a lot of time to render down. Harry’s method has simplified this time constraint by today’s standards by using leaner and tougher meats.
The advantage is that these parts of beef and pork must be requested at a local butcher that you trust. This way, these cuts of meat will be cheaper for you since they are not the typical pricier select cuts of meat. They will need preparation to help tenderize them a bit more than usual, but the result is meat that is tender and tasty with lower fat content. This makes Harry Eastwood’s French recipes better suited for low-calorie recipes as a whole.