Monday, 25 November 2013

The Little Paris Kitchen

Picture source

Australia has been a bit slow to jump on the Rachel Khoo bandwagon. Rachel is English of Malaysian/Austrian background, she moved to Paris a few years ago, and has turned a three month patisserie course at Le Cordon Blue into a media food career. Initially Rachel ran a two seat restaurant in her tiny Belleville flat, with two gas burners and a minuscule oven. She published two books in French, and then hit the big time with a BBC series, The Little Paris Kitchen, and a book to accompany the series.

The TV series ran here in June and July this year, so I was able to watch a few episodes before heading to Paris myself. Recently I watched the rest of the series. It's readily consumable fare for a Paris tragic like me. Lots of gratuitous shots of Paris in all her beauty to make you swoon.

We do learn lots of valuable things too. Paris has 1100 patisseries. No wonder I feel that I will never get through them all! Population density in Paris is four times that of London- so no wonder it can feel crowded at times.

Rachel has a buxom 50s housewife vibe, often wearing knotted cardigans and big full skirts. I do love the way she wears red lipstick, and am totally envious of one so young having such skills. I must learn to wear red lipstick. Like many chefs and cooks before her Rachel aims to take the fear out of French cooking, showing us her take on French classics.

Rachel of course celebrates the delicious, amazing ingredients and produce available in Paris. She always uses the full fat versions. During her eggs en cocotte Rachel advises us that we could do a low fat version, but she then looks disdainfully at us, and reminds us that this would be on our own conscience. None of it is rarefied French cooking though. Rachel has a passion for French food, cooked simply, like Parisians do at home. I love the occasional slip of camera angle that lets us see she is cooking in her socks, that she uses frozen peas like all home cooks, and has Heinz ketchup in her fridge!

A number of the recipes looked really good, and easy enough for those of us who tragically don't live in Paris to make. Her Ile flotant looks particularly amazing. I've longed for ile flotant for a long time. I had it once in Paris, but at a cheapish restaurant and it wasn't all that great. It wasn't terrible mind you, but not the transcendent experience that I'd hoped for. I'd love to give Rachel's recipe a go one day.

Dreaming of France is a wonderful Monday meme
from Paulita at An Accidental Blog


Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I envy you so much already, Louise, and now you reveal yet another reason to envy you...a show like this, with glimpses of Paris, on tv! Sigh.

skiourophile said...

Darn, I didn't realise it was on TV here in Oz. I suspect I will have all the same envies - and I've never been confident enough for red lipstick, so that's another thing...

Louise said...

Deb, do you not get access to shows like that on TV? You could check it out on youtube too. I'd never thought of myself as being enviable… I'm blushing.

Vicki, you might be able to track down a copy on DVD at your library. Or there's a lot on youtube.

Jackie McGuinness said...

I must check this show out on youtube!!!

Paulita said...

I agree. Now I want to watch too. I'll check for the cookbooks too. If only I had a Christmas list. Here’s my Dreaming of France meme

Joy said...

This sounds like a great find! Someone I haven't heard of living in the middle of the US.

Joy's Book Blog

Couscous & Consciousness said...

I loved Rachel's TV series - we got it here in New Zealand too - and I was amazed at how achievable she made French food seem. I now have her book on my Xmas wish list.

You are right - she does totally rock red lipstick. I think it's all in the complexion, because even though they say there is the right shade of red for everyone, I've never found one that looked good on me!