LEE Conetta is Glasgow food royalty, having built up and helped to run some of the city’s most famous restaurants.

For her regular column in the Glasgow Times, she shares fantastic recipes and memories of her life here in the city and her travels to Italy and beyond.

This time, she is savouring happy memories of travel in France and reveals French cooking is not quite as complicated as it seems…

Glasgow Times: Cooking With Mrs Conetta feature. Pictured is Lee Conetta in her study pictured next to French memorobilia...Photograph by Colin Mearns.10 May 2022.For Glasgow Times, see story by Ann Fotheringham.

HAVING spent some time in France, I came to acquire a taste for French cooking.

The country invented haute cuisine and created gastronomy bible The Michelin Guide.

When we think of French cooking, we think of cheese and wine and famous chefs, like Michel Roux, Raymond Blanc and Jean-Christophe Novelli.

There is, however, much more to it than that.

Anyone who has travelled even a little in the country will notice how quickly the landscape changes.

There are such separate, distinctive and varied regions, with those who live there knowing how to get the very best out of what the seas, forests, rivers and lands have to offer.

Glasgow Times: Cooking With Mrs Conetta feature. Pictured is a chicken pie Mapie using puff pastry- made by Lee Conetta...Photograph by Colin Mearns.10 May 2022.For Glasgow Times, see story by Ann Fotheringham.

This means there are many local specialities, which have adapted and changed over time.

Paris, as the gastronomic capital of France, is a place where this all comes together and everyone enjoys the immense variety of the different regions.

The French consider cooking one of the fine arts, like music, poetry and painting – it enhances our lives, bringing families and friends together around a table – one of the great joys, I think we can all agree.

However, the intricacies of French cooking can, to the inexperienced cook - and even to the experienced cook - seem tricky and even incomprehensible at times, with lots of complicated techniques.

Over time, French cooking has become more accessible, with simpler recipes such as the one I am featuring today.

I’m talking about dishes which would have a starring role at the dinners to which our grandparents invited friends and family.

It’s more important to know that cooking requires the best ingredients – and first class butter.

Of the three great and famous French pastries, flaky (or puff) pastry is the most admired, which serves as a basis for both entrees and desserts.

Flaky pastry is used for the famous milles-feuille, which are filled with pastry, cream or jam, as well as large cakes and vol-aux-vents.

It is perhaps the most difficult one to make successfully, which is why I’m suggesting using the packet puff pastry you can buy in supermarkets for this recipe.

However fancy cooking gets, however, everyone loves a pie.

And NOTHING beats a good Scotch or ashet Pie.

Over the years at the Buon Appetito, our café in Rutherglen, I sold many such a pie - deep fried and served with a portion of chips and beans – as did so many Glasgow cafes.

But my personal favourite is chicken and ham. What is your favourite pie?

I’m offering a £100 voucher for the best pie recipe.

Send in yours for me to judge, and I will decide the winner.

Send your entries to ann.fotheringham@glasgowtimes.co.uk by Thursday, May 26, and tell us why you love this recipe.

Was it a favourite from your childhood?

Has it been passed down through the generations?

Or have you invented something completely new?

It could be sweet, savoury or something in between.

For a chance to win – usual Glasgow Times terms and conditions apply - email your recipe or send it to Ann Fotheringham, Glasgow Times, 125 Fullarton Drive, Glasgow G32 8FG.

Buon appetito!

Glasgow Times: Mrs Conetta's chicken pie.

Chicken Pie - Poulet en croute

8 chicken pieces – a mixture of thighs/drumsticks
320g packet of puff pastry – or if you’re feeling brave enough, do make your own!
90g butter
Half a bottle of dry white wine
Four teaspoons of sherry
270g of mushrooms, washed, trimmed and cut into pieces
Five shallots, finely chopped
Four slices of bacon
Four hardboiled eggs, quartered
Egg yolk
Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C  / 400 degrees F

Heat half the butter in a shallow pan and sauté the chicken pieces , turning them so they are lightly coloured on all sides. Season with salt and pepper, reduce the heat and cook gently for 20 minutes.

Transfer the chicken pieces to a deep baking dish, add the wine to the pan in which the chicken was sauteed and scrape the juices from the pan with a fork. Stir well and let the wine reduce down for a few minutes. Add the sherry. Melt the remaining butter, sauté the mushrooms, and the shallots. Season again with salt and pepper.

Add the wine sauce and the mushroom mixture to the chicken. Cover with slices of bacon and the hard boiled eggs. Moisten the rim of the dish, roll out the pastry to fit (if required) and put it in place, pressing the edges to the rim. Make a small hole in the centre and put in a tiny paper roll to act as a chimney for the steam to escape.  Mix the egg yolk with a teaspoon of water and then brush this across the pastry. Bake for around 30 minutes.