The realm of British celebrity chefs is a crowded one (ahem, Nigella, Jamie, Gordon).
So it’s a testament to her charm and ingenuity that, in a competitive and varied pack, 34-year-old Rachel Khoo stands out as a genuine fresh face.
With looks reminiscent of Audrey Tautou, a delightful estuary accent and an infectious energy, her creative approach to cooking is refreshing and rare.
But don’t get the wrong idea – for Europeans, the London-born, Paris-trained chef is no stranger.
A string of cook books, a YouTube channel, an Instagram account with 63,500 followers, plus a successful BBC show and another one on the way mean Khoo has well and truly cracked the foodie market.
It’s here in Australia that she remains comfortably shrouded in relative obscurity. But not for long.
In town to promote her new cook book Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook, Khoo is also filming an eight-part series on Melbourne’s cuisine scene.
Khoo chatted to The New Daily about her approach to cooking, her tips for eating on a date and her ideal cooking partner.
Watch the video below before embarking on your own kitchen adventure with Khoo’s recipe for healthy burgers below.
“The burger craze doesn’t seem to have left a stone unturned. New York, London, Paris, Stockholm: every city I visit has any number of burger bars touting gourmet beef patties in soft brioche buns.
“Don’t get me wrong, I love a burger! But after seeing all that meat I find myself craving something a little lighter and fresher tasting.
“Wrap your hand round this cauliflower cheeseburger, take a big bite and let some of the burger juice dribble down your hand … just like the real deal!”
• 1 very small head of cauliflower (approx. 200g), trimmed and separated into florets
• 140g tinned haricot beans (drained weight)
• 85g fresh breadcrumbs
• 140g mature Cheddar cheese
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flatleaf parsley
• a sprinkling of grated nutmeg
• zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
• 1 tablespoon roasted chopped hazelnuts
• sea salt and freshly ground pepper
• 1 large egg white
• 2 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
• 1 oak leaf lettuce (or other)
• 1 medium tomato, sliced
For the caramelized onion chutney (makes 250g)
• 50g butter
• 4 red onions, peeled and thinly sliced
• a pinch of sea salt
• 150ml red wine vinegar
• 2 tbsp raisins, finely chopped
• 2 tbsp soft brown sugar
1. Steam the cauliflower florets for 7– 8 minutes, or until tender. Take off the heat, drain and leave in the colander to cool.
2. In the meantime, start to make the red onion chutney. Put the butter in a frying pan on a low heat, then add the onions and salt.
3. Fry for about 20 minutes, or until sticky and soft. Add the vinegar, raisins and sugar, and cook for another 5 minutes, or until glossy and reduced. Check the seasoning.
4. When the cauliflower is cool, put the haricot beans into a food processor and pulse, then add the cauliflower and pulse lightly. You don’t want to overwork it as the mixture will get sloppy.
5. Place in a bowl and add 1 tbsp of breadcrumbs. Grate 80g of the cheddar and add to the bowl, along with the parsley, nutmeg, lemon zest and hazelnuts.
6. Season with salt and pepper, and form the mix into 6 patties, around 6cm in diameter each, in the palms of your hands.
7. Lightly whisk the egg white in a bowl, and put the rest of the breadcrumbs on to a plate. Brush each patty all over with egg white and press into the crumbs, making sure they are well covered.
8. Put the oil into a large frying pan on a medium-high heat. When hot, cook the patties in batches for 3 – 4 minutes on each side, until nice and crisp and golden.
9. Slice the remaining Cheddar and put a slice on top of each patty while in the pan to melt. Place each patty in a lettuce leaf, add a slice of tomato and serve with a generous spoonful of chutney.
Tip: Serve with toasted open pitta bread or brioche bun if you want a more ‘classic’ burger.
Get ahead: You can freeze these patties on a tray, before coating in the egg white and breadcrumbs. Then defrost, coat, and fry in a pan, as above.
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes