Nigella Lawson can only be described as a national institution here in the UK. She is the daughter of an ex-Chancellor and decends from the Lyons family (of Tea Houses and biscuits fame). After the death of her first husband she famously married Charles Saatchi, art dealer and advertising supremo. And yet despite this history, aristocracy and wealth Nigella is extraordinarily easy to relate to.
Her down to earth writing style, and refusal to bow to culinary fashions such as low-fat, have led to her image as a friend of the family cook. In fact her first books, “How To Eat” and “How To Be A Domestic Goddess” are must-haves on any bookshelf. If you are learning to cook from scratch, these are the books to own covering, as they do, everything from the basics through to full-blown dinner parties.
My first publishing experience of Nigella was the receipt of “Feast”, a signed copy gifted to me by Kirstin. The first time I cooked Christmas dinner, I used Nigella as my guide and the book is now covered in little splatters of gravy as permanent reminders. Lately however Nigella’s offerings have, in my opinion at least, lost some of the prolific style of her earlier books. The premise of “Kitchen” as ‘recipes from the heart of the home’ is true Nigella, but the recipes themselves – which I discovered reading the book cover to cover in one sitting – seem slightly mad. Really, that’s the only word I can use to describe them. I don’t feel as drawn to trying as many as I have done with her previous books. I’m hoping that by cooking them my opinion will change!
In our first week we have got off to a cracking start. Kirstin hosted two dinner parties, cooking “Spanish chicken with chorizo and potatoes” with “Guinness gingerbread” and “Shoulder of lamb with garlic, thyme, olives and rose wine” After the amazing success of Bill’s chocolate chip cookies last month, I felt it was only right to try Nigella’s recipe which she claims is the best she has ever baked. And we made a quick “Lemony salmon with cherry tomato couscous” which could have been even easier, had we not had to use half the contents of Kirstin’s bowl drawer! Finally we had a French bistro feast featuring “Roast duck legs and potatoes” with “Coffee toffee meringues” which Kirstin pronounced worth the price of the book alone. Enjoy October!