Rachel Khoo burst into the TV cooking scene early this year with her little Paris kitchen exploits. When I first saw the TV adverts for her show on the Beeb, I wondered if it was all too good to be true. Everything was neat, tidy and oh-so-trés-Français. But I was very (very!) curious so I made sure her show was sky-plussed.
I loved everything about the show. It somehow de-mystified french cooking for me and seemed to make it more accessible. I’ve got Julia Child’s Mastering The Art of French Cooking, but have never tried any of the recipes. French cuisine is, really, quite daunting (to me it is, anyway). I’ve cracked the book spine by reading it but haven’t really had the courage to actually try one of the recipes (yes, I know I really should!).
Because I enjoyed the show and the recipes that were featured (and thought I’d be a dab hand at trying out the recipes) I bought Rachel’s book and it really is quite adorable. The illustrations in the book are completely hers (and considering her visual arts background, I wasn’t surprised that the little illustrations were good, and really quite refreshing to see in a cook book!).
The first recipe I’ve tried and have always come back to in the cookbook is the recipe for croque madame muffins. They are simple to make and they taste absolutely scrummy. There are only 6 ingredients: bread, butter, eggs, ham, cheese and bechamel sauce! If you are considering buying this book, do, if only for the croque madame muffin recipe! They’re wonderfully tasty and oh-so-easy to make. And, they do, come out quite beautifully. When you pull them out of the oven and see their lovely golden bakedness, you can’t help but say, “Oh wow! I made that!”