One day after coming home from work, I put the telly on, and a cooking show I’d never heard of was just starting. It was the first episode of Rachel Khoo’s Little Paris Kitchen. I was hooked right away, and ordered the book that evening.
The recipes are all French classics, which have been demystified and simplified (and in some cases, deconstructed), often with an innovative or unconventional twist. Examples include coq au vin kebabs, croque madame muffins, winter salad, and spring-time stew. There are also some ‘opposite’ dishes, like savoury cake (with sausage, pistachios, prunes) and rhubarb and meringue hotdog.
While several recipes call for regional French or other specialist ingredients (such as particular cheeses or sugar nibs that I’ve yet to see in NZ), generic substitutions are often given. Chapters range from picnic to party food, simple suppers to more substantial meals for dinner guests, snacks to starters, tea-time treats to desserts to impress. There is also a small chapter on basics like sauces and dressings, etc.
Most recipes fit onto 1 page – a feature that I find very useful and practical – and are accompanied by gorgeous photos. I also like the charming little illustrations (drawn by Rachel herself) dotted throughout, and photos from around Paris (various shops, markets, restaurants) and Rachel’s kitchen. This book makes me wish that I, too, had run away to Paris to patisserie school (not a new daydream!). But in the meantime, I can bring a little bit of Paris to my kitchen.