At the end of February I had the pleasure to attend a workshop from Rachel Khoo.
The English Rachel became hugely popular through the success of her little Paris kitchen, the tiny living room restaurant that delivered her several books and a tv show. Although her mini restaurant doesn’t exist anymore, Rachel is still enthusiastically cooking and also works as a culinary consultant. The French cuisine still holds a special place in her heart, which also explains the theme of her latest book ‘My Little French Kitchen’.
In preparation for this book, Rachel traveled all throughout France. Everywhere she went she tried to find the best dishes and the local’s favorite recipes. Eventually she gave those classics her own twist: she made a savory variation on the Paris-brest for instance (with Brie de Meaux!) and created a nougat mousse that doesn’t require a sugar thermometer. The end result is a cookbook with over hundred recipes, inspired by the mountains, market squares and shores of France. With the gorgeous pictures from David Loftus (who also shoots the Jamie Oliver books), lovely illustrations of mademoiselle Khoo herself, clear recipes and a precise recipe index, this book is a winner.
During the workshop we prepared several pinxtos from the book; French variations on those great Spanish bites. Most of them can be made within minutes and are very suitable for beginning cooks. And with the homemade little flags (it’s clear that Rachel is a former art student), the bites looked just as pretty as in the book. The creamy tuna bites (baguette rounds with mustard crème fraiche, tuna and cornichons) and the buttery shortbreads with cheese and tomato were my personal favorites.
It was clear from the beginning that Rachel is just as sparkly in real life as she is on television. She spoke passionately about the best ingredients (“I am a cheeseaholic: if it get’s down to the last piece of cheese, it’s mine!”), her aversion to light products (“butter makes everything better”) and showed how important food is to her: “I don’t have friends who don’t like food”. A woman to my heart!
Rachel also told she was busy working on another new book and shooting a new television series. And after this workshop, I definitely can’t wait.