Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Simply Nigella - Nigella Lawson

As part of the promotional effort for this book Nigella was on radio 4's Woman's Hour talking, amongst other things, about food and feminism. It was an excellent episode which should still be available for a week or two, it's well worth a listen and raises all sorts of interesting points.

My first Nigella book was 'How to be a Domestic Goddess' bought around the time it came out, which was also the time when I was discovering the joy of cookbooks, as well as finding my place in a kitchen of my own. I had also just started working with some some proper foodies (these were my early Oddbins days) and that too had a significant impact on how I think about food - we spent a lot of time talking about food and wine in a way that I really miss these days.

Nigella's books have become such a part of my kitchen that it's hard to remember life before them or how different they seemed, but with this new one in front of me I'm trying to pin down the magic again. Maybe it's because she makes the kitchen feel like a place to escape to rather than from, it certainly helps that her recipes are reliable and achievable as well - the relief of thinking 'I can do this' (and generally without much trouble) shouldn't be underestimated.

The collection of recipes here - well summed up by the title 'Simply Nigella - Feel Good Food' - are appealing even to someone ambivalent about avocados and emphatically not a fan of liquorice (avocados feature heavily, liquorice thankfully not as much). There are quick things, easy things that can casually be thrown together then left to do their thing so that the cook can do much the same for themselves, balanced delicious self indulgent things (I am thinking principally of potatoes braised with jars of char grilled peppers or butternut squash with za'atar and green tahini sauce). Bundt cakes that promise to be the perfect accompaniment to a cup of coffee and radio 4 (or a good book). There are breakfasts which can be grabbed quickly in the week or the sort that can see you through Sunday morning with the papers. In short it's classic Nigella; generous, hospitable, adaptable, easy food that's a pleasure to cook and eat.


  1. The last cook I found appealing was Jamie Oliver. I have heard of Nigella and it sounds like she is a good match for you.

  2. Thanks for the mention of the Woman's Hour program. I downloaded the podcast & listened to it while I had lunch. I do like the sound of Nigella's new book, it's gone onto my wishlist.