Some of you may know of Rachel Khoo, who is an English chef, writer and broadcaster, with her own BBC series. She had a tiny flat in Paris in which she whipped up impressive meals inside her cramped tiny kitchen. I am now a big fan of hers and I base some of my recipes on her books.
When I was in Paris for three weeks in 1997 with my partner, Pat Yeomans (she was there with an Irish Folk Group playing several gigs in some shady joints!), I attended workshops at the Cordon Bleu School of Cookery, for ‘French Regional Cuisine’ and ‘Domestic Food Preparation’ just for something to do. That changed my life, so I stopped living on frozen ready meals and started to live a little and cook my own food.
My kitchen isn’t as tiny as Rachel’s, but it is very small. Big enough for one person, two at a struggle, but I couldn’t cater for a party! Sorry, fellow bloggers, maybe another time.
The majority of the kitchen remains the same as when the first occupants moved in in 1934. It still has the red quarry tiled floor and the huge cupboards from that time, masses of storage space. I wasn’t until 2003 that I had the original gas cooker, a ‘New World 34′ taken out and bought a table top electric cooker. (couldn’t get spare parts for the old cooker any more).
These original cupboards, made of real wood, are so much better than modern kitchen units made of vinyl-covered chipboard that are available these days. I wouldn’t dream of changing the existing ones because they are so roomy inside.
The floor is original, except for the three relacement tiles. I like it because it is so easy to keep clean. Especially as I seem to drop more food on the floor than I eat.
The cooking corner. Not a very big oven, but it does the job and is just right for me. Notice the cup on the window sill. I saw it on an Etsy.com site and noticed it had the same pattern on it as the kitchen wall tiles, and it was in the Art Deco style so I just had to buy it
The top section of my French Dresser, the bottom cupboard is where all my cooking utensils are stored. I don’t like have them on display, very common! I couldn’t afford to buy a dresser in France and have it transported to England, so I scrounged a load of pallets from a local builder and dismantled them, planed them up and made my own dresser. I know it looks crude, but I was a stained glass artist, not a carpenter (or wood butcher as I call them!). I did make some leaded panels for the doors with butterflies in them, but they proved to be too heavy for the frames so I put chicken wire in. This is traditional in rural French houses. Not for keeping chickens in the dresser, but to prevent the crockery from falling out during a major earthquake.
The calendar on the wall has pictures of cats on it, who bear a remarkable resemblance to Betsy’s cats.