La petite cuisine à Paris. Paris private dining for two chez Rachel Khoo

12 Jan
Rachel Khoo Kitchen

La cuisinière. La petite cuisine. Copyright © Rachel Bajada

I love meeting cool people doing cool new things. Recently I was a guest at the first of many private dining experiences to come at ‘La petite cuisine à Paris’ (literally ‘The little Paris kitchen’) a unique new project by the talented British, now Paris-based culinary creative Rachel Khoo.

After packing up and leaving a fashion career in London to study Pâtisserie at the world-renown Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, Rachel began by baking sweet treats at Paris’ specialty cookery bookstore, La Cocotte. Four years on, she now jets around Europe cooking and catering for prestigious events, launches and private parties. In between all of this, she has also found the time to knock out 2 wonderful cookbooks in French: Pâtes à tartiner and Barres de céréales: Muesli & granola.

‘The little Paris kitchen’ is the now the delicious testing ground for her next recipe book where she will be developing and perfecting all her recipes to go in the publication. “La Petite Cuisine” is her first English publication and is due for release in Spring 2012. The concept is simple and is sure to fill a growing craving for simple, modern, uncomplicated recipes that reinterpret traditional cooking techniques and traditions from the godmothers of French cuisine such as Elizabeth David and Julia Child. Rachel Khoo’s goal is to “Make French food fun.”

What better way to start than to invite people, two at a time for a memorable, delectable experience as taste-testers in her private kitchen where all her culinary creations are made with the ingredients sources at her local produce markets, fromagerie and favorite specialty stores and boulangeries.

Update as of March 19th, 2012. Rachel Khoo now appears on BBC two at 8.30pm Monday evenings UK time. The Paris “Test Kitchen” is therefore no longer open but you can get your fix of Rachel Khoo and her delightful recipes and tiny kithen on TV and through her new book. Enjoy!

La Petite Cuisine eye candy

La petite cuisine- eye candy Copyright © Rachel Bajada

Cosy Corner La Petite Cuisine

Cosy Corner, La Petite Cusine Copyright © Rachel Bajada

So… back to LE FOOD! Well Rachel cooked up a delicious storm in a teacup in her tiny Paris kitchen for myself and other lucky guest- the fabulous Amy Thomas from the super godiloveparis blog.

Le Menu:

Entrees:
Creamy bèchamel cauliflower gratin with a hazelnut crumbs

Mains:
Sticky lemon & lavender roast chicken

Dessert:
Baked apples with a sweet spiced bèchamel sauce

Bread: From Du Pain et des idées in Paris’ 10eme. This stuff is dangerously good bread by the way- still warm and fresh out of the oven when it landed on the table- it took some serious restraint for me to stop eating it! Oh the simple pleasures…

La petite cuisine a paris- table for two

La table. L'inviteé. Le pain Copyright © Rachel Bajada

Preparing cauliflower gratin with roast hazlenuts Copyright © Rachel Bajada

Comfort food. Finishing touches on 'Gratin au choufleur avec noisette chapelure' Copyright © Rachel Bajada

Cauliflower Gratin - Choufleur Bechamel

Creamy comfort food. Can't beat it. Copyright © Rachel Bajada

Roasting Lavender lemon chicken

Chicken roasting with lemon and lavender glaze Copyright © Rachel Bajada

Sticky lemon and lavender roast chicken

Flavour harmony. Sticky lemon & lavender roast chicken Copyright © Rachel Bajada

Preparing baked apples with cinnamon

The art of the apple. Preparing sweet spiced apples with cinnamon Copyright © Rachel Bajada

Preparing apples for baking in papillote

Spicy sweet bundles Copyright © Rachel Bajada

Spiced baked apple with vanilla crème anglaise bechamel

Spiced baked apples with vanilla crème anglaise/sweet bechamel Copyright © Rachel Bajada

Now of course, this post would not be complete without a recipe! Rachel’s menu was based around making the perfect béchamel, and what I loved about her approach was that the same base for this sauce called the “Roux” can be used to make both a sweet or savory sauce- depending on the seasonings and aromatics you use.

For a savoury sauce- follow the standard Bèchamel formula (here is a good recipe for a classic béchamel sauce) and add a combination of classic aromatics such as:

Onion
Bayleaf
Clove
Nutmeg

Rachel also suggests:

Saffron, orange zest, turmeric or cumin

For a sweet sauce or alternative to crème anglaise:

Simply leave out the salt and savoury additions above, and sweeten with sugar to taste, adding fresh vanilla seeds and optional spices such as cinnamon or nutmeg.

Here are Rachel’s top three tips for the perfect bèchamel:

1. Use whole milk. Semi or skimmed just won’t give you that rich creamy taste.

2. When you add your milk to the roux (flour and butter thickener) make sure to do it a slow, gradual stream and then whisk, whisk and whisk!

3. Classic bèchamel aromatics are: onion, bayleaf and clove but feel free to experiment with non traditional flavours such as saffron and orange zest or tumeric and cumin.

Bonne Bèchamel!

At elizabeth david's table- book

Inspiration at the table- modernising old school classics

Pates a tartiner- cookbook by Rachel Khoo

Published success. Recipe books by Rachel Khoo

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22 Responses to “La petite cuisine à Paris. Paris private dining for two chez Rachel Khoo”

  1. Anita Menon October 31, 2013 at 11:36 pm #

    I found out about Rachel Khoo pretty late, nevertheless so inspiring. Beautiful post. thank you for sharing your experience

  2. Zenaida Nyame June 6, 2013 at 10:04 am #

    It was sad to hear that La Petite Cuisine a Paris is no longer open. I was looking forward to eat there next month as my husband is taking me to Paris to celebrate his birthday.

  3. Phyllis January 1, 2013 at 3:01 pm #

    Rachel, my Parisian husband and I love getting “our fix” by watching your charming style of cooking. We recently moved to California and miss Paris. Bon continuation. Vous êtes formidable!

    • frenchforfoodies.com January 2, 2013 at 3:09 pm #

      Hi Phylis, thanks for the compliment but this is not Rachel Khoo. I’m Rachel Bajada, I just wrote the article on her after eating in her test kitchen. :)

  4. Karen December 13, 2012 at 6:57 am #

    I will not rest until I find teacups like the ones Rachael used to make her
    lovely Eggs in Teacups. They look so “Bistro” I love the size of them.
    Any suggestions?????

  5. parisbreakfast April 30, 2012 at 10:31 am #

    LOVE Rachel Khoos story!!
    and would love her tartiner book but too hot to handle for moi…

  6. Greg PAQ September 30, 2011 at 11:41 pm #

    Rachel, ton blog reste un très beau blog. Bravo!!!
    Tu es une vraie Food reporteuse!

  7. Stuart Piercy April 22, 2011 at 7:48 pm #

    i’d love to share this posting with the readers on my site. thanks for sharing!

  8. BlackLight April 12, 2011 at 6:48 pm #

    I’m glad that I’ve found this frenchforfoodies.com site.
    Oh, this was a really qualitative post. In theory I’d like to write like this too – taking time and real effort to make a good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate alot and never seem to get something done.

  9. BenGMorgan April 11, 2011 at 1:42 am #

    I was lucky enough to dine in Rachel’s little restaurant during a recent trip to Paris. An absolute delight! Would love another visit!

    • emy April 14, 2011 at 9:38 am #

      where is located in paris?

      • Rachel Bajada April 14, 2011 at 10:14 am #

        Hi, you will need to contact Rachel Khoo. The address is private and given only upon acceptance of reservation. Cheers

        • emy April 14, 2011 at 2:29 pm #

          I see.Thanks a lot.I’ve tried to make a reservation but it was full!Cheers

    • Phyllis January 1, 2013 at 3:03 pm #

      Quelle chance! Je suis jalouse! ;)

  10. Kate April 9, 2011 at 6:35 pm #

    You have a lovely blog — and I envy you this private dining for two experience!

  11. Roger Williams January 25, 2011 at 7:00 pm #

    Just to let you know that there is a new, revised, e-book edition of “Lunch with Elizabeth David”. The novel involving David and her mentor, Norman Douglas, originally published by Little Brown, is available in all e-book formats and can be sampled at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/29680
    It is also in the Amazon Kindle store.

  12. Tereza January 13, 2011 at 10:09 pm #

    Oh those baked apples with vanilla creme look AMAZING!

  13. Claire January 12, 2011 at 2:42 pm #

    Looks nice and warm – but bechamel ? Twice in the meal ? Hope it’s not like this every day :)

    • Rachel Bajada January 12, 2011 at 2:47 pm #

      Hi Claire, the sweet bechamel was more of a creme anglaise… I guess a good way of Rachel demonstrating how easy it is to diversify a simple sauce. It certainly was delicious though! :)

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    […] stuffed with raspberries and curd and drink tea.  Well, maybe one day I will.  Rachel runs La Petite Cuisine a Paris out of her miniature flat so one day, I’m […]

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