Thursday, 29 March 2012

Necessary Reading - The Little Paris Kitchen

As much as I like to think of myself as a lover of food, I'm ashamed to confess that French cooking is one area I've never really got to grips with. So with that in mind it was with some reluctance that I tuned into the latest BBC cookery show The Little Paris Kitchen. Now I'm not going to pull any punches here and I'll be brutally honest, I thought the show was...

...great! I loved the selection of recipes, wonderfully presented by the charming and engaging Rachel Khoo and my only criticism so far would be I wish each episode were longer! For that reason, not to mention because I'm as much of a lover cookbooks as I am of cooking, I headed to my local bookshop this week and picked myself up a copy of the book accompanying the series, The Little Paris Kitchen: Classic French recipes with a fresh and fun approach.

This book is a terrific introduction to those daunted by traditional French cooking and a worthy addition for more experienced cooks looking for a fresh approach to more traditional dishes. The recipe selection is broad and varied, ranging from the classic to the contemporary, with a few surprises along the way. I raised my eyebrows (in a good way) more than once, at dishes such as Mackerel Tartare with a Rhubarb and Cucumber relish, Cured Sausage, Pistachio and Prune Cake and Vacherin 'Hotdog' with rosemary rhubarb. The recipes are separated into helpful sections, covering snacks to family dinners and each is clearly explained and accompanied by useful tips, techniques and even the occasional twist. Much like the food the photography is simple yet elegant, showcasing the beautiful recipes, beautiful Paris and the beautiful cook herself!

I have read elsewhere that the food featured in The Little Paris Kitchen is almost too simple, but for me that is what makes this book so special. The dishes are creative, exciting and most importantly, achievable. I've tried out about half a dozen so far and each one has not only been delicious to eat, but also easy and enjoyable to make, which surely is the point of good cooking. I really love this book already and look forward to trying out more of what it has to offer. I suggest you all hunt down a copy at the next available opportunity!

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