IF you are a tragic francophile like me, then please let me introduce you to your next source of travel porn; “My Little French Kitchen”, by Rachel Khoo.
You may already know Khoo from her original book The Little Paris Kitchen, and the BBC TV series that went along with it. These chorizo and cheddar potato nests were inspired by a recipe from the series, and they are a great example of the kind of simple, delicious and very French recipes that you can expect from the trés chic Ms Khoo.
In this next book the English-raised but French-trained Khoo travels around the different regions of France, offering an insight into the local cuisine and culture. Each chapter is based around one region, and begins with a short essay about Rachel’s time there, what she learned and what she loved about these very distinctly different areas of France. For someone like me who is completely fascinated by the old-world charm of these more rural areas of France, it’s a completely charming peak into a somewhat secret world.
There are six different chapters; Brittany, Bordeaux, the Basque region, Provence, Lyon and the Alsace. In each chapter Rachel talks about what she ate, what the terrain is like, what foods are common and how she came up with the recipes for the chapter. It’s like getting the world’s greatest travel advice from your cool older sister.
The recipes themselves are largely twists on classic recipes, or new creations featuring star ingredients from each region. They have the signature simplicity and excitement of Khoo’s earlier work, but in this book there are a few more ‘showstopper’ recipes, which would require a little more forethought than a weeknight dinner. Having said that, there are just a many simple, straight-forward delicious options, so a nice balance is maintained.
Photographs are by David Loftus, who is a genius as far as I am concerned, so you can count on an absolute abundance of beautiful food shots, interspersed with great portraits and images of the local scenery. All the illustrations are hand drawn by the talented Ms Khoo herself, adding another personal touch to an already warm and inviting book.
If you love France, like a modern take on a classic recipe, and you love beautiful photography, then I can’t recommend this one enough! Have you read it, or The Little Paris Kitchen? What did you think?