Garbure

This hearty wholesome soup hails from south- west France and is a good one for those on a budget or with a crowd to feed. According to 'Larousse Gastronomique', the most famous version is from Bearn (which includes cabbage and confit), but there are many local variations. In Gascony , the local tradition is to tip a glass of wine (preferably a full-bodied red) into the dregs of your bowl which not only makes the soup go further but is also very delicious. Toasted bread with cheese is sometimes served as an accompaniment, as with French onion soup.

Scallop salad (pla hoi shenn)

This simple but tasty salad is from David Thompson's magnificent new book "thai food" (Penguin). Thompson is Australia's foremost exponent of authentic Thai cuisine and this new book is a tribute to his years of passionate research and knowledge.