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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

NIGELLA KITCHEN Recipes From The Heart Of The Home – Nigella Lawson

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Nigella Lawson does not need much of an introduction. The beautiful and voluptuous maven has been publishing cookbooks and cooking shows for years. I bought NIGELLA KITCHEN at a very crazy time in my life. It was weeks from Christmas and I was in the midst of final exams so I skimmed through it and shelved it. The holidays came and went so fast and my thesis writing was ongoing so I had little time to immerse myself in little else. Now that the thesis is completed, I finally read this cookbook last week. I was thrilled to see some recipes from her Food Network show, Nigella Kitchen. This is the first cookbook I own from Nigella, but certainly will not be the last.

NIGELLA KITCHEN features close to 500 pages and divided into: Part I: Kitchen Quandaries and Part II: Kitchen Comforts. In the Introduction Or What The Kitchen Means To Me, And Why I Live In It, Nigella aptly describes this cookbook as “simply the story of my love affair with the kitchen.” If you watch Nigella cook, you will agree her love for all things food really comes through in the kitchen. I love her writing and find it quite entertaining and honest, especially her kitchen confession to having many knick-knacks and clutter. I agree with Nigella, the kitchen is a place to escape to and you cook because you want to. After I read the introduction, I peruse this tome and love the plethora of gorgeous photographs by Lis Parsons.

Kitchen Kaboodle is a great read and among recommended gear, Nigella suggests dutch oven, roasting pan, non-stick frying pan, grill pan, and smooth griddle. The bakeware paragraph I relate to since like Nigella, I had a late start baking, and have a multitude of baking pans in different shapes and sizes, bundt pan, loaf pan, springform pan, tart pan, etc. Nigella is not fussy about knives so you buy what you need or want but feels every cook should have a food processor, mixer, food mill, rice cooker, microplane graters, whisks, etc. Her recommendations are common sense ones and Kitchen Gadget Hall of Shame is so hilarious.

Kitchen Confidential covers Nigella’s food tips and shortcuts, which I thank her for sharing. I got a couple of new ideas to incorporate into my baking and cooking. NIGELLA KITCHEN is not a structured cookbook divided into starters, dinners, deserts, etc. and Nigella states there is no rhyme or reason to it but do not let that deter you. This is my one quirk because I am so structured and like everything in order, but that is why post-it notes are helpful. I will highlight a few recipes in each section but keep in mind there are tons of recipes to choose from.

Part I: Kitchen Quandaries kicks off with recipes in What’s For Supper? such as Cheesy Chili, Pasta alla Genovese, African Drumsticks, and Chicken Fajitas. Hurry Up I’m Hungry has a lot of recipes to choose from but I especially like Tarragon Chicken, Lamb With Rosemary and Port, Sunshine Soup, and Vietnamese Pork Noodle Soup. The recipes never look boring and Easy Does It features some delights Clams With Chorizo, Indian-rubbed Lamb Chops, and Mexican Lasagne. In Cook It Better, three desert recipes catch my eye Strawberry and Almond Crumble, Banoffee (Banana/Toffee) Cheesecake, and Coconut and Cherry Banana Bread. My Sweet Solution has a great selection of yumminess Chocolate Key Lime Pie, Old Fashioned Cheesecake, Grasshopper Pie (inspired by an episode of Glee), and Orange and Blackberry Trifle. Off The Cuff features more comfort food Slut’s Spaghetti (AKA Pasta alla Puttanesca), Indian Roasted Potatoes, Chorizo and Chickpea Stew, and Everyday Brownies.

Part II: Kitchen Comforts opens with Chicken And Its Place In My Kitchen and I am love chicken and these recipes My Mother’s Praised Chicken, Chinatown Chicken Salad, and Thai Chicken Noodle Soup. More sweet treats abound in A Dream Of Hearth And Home and I am in heaven right now. I must make Nigella’s Red Velvet Cupcakes, Devil’s Food Cake, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Swedish Summer Cake, and Lemon Polenta Cake. At My Table offers some hearty recipes like Venetian Lasagne, Homestyle Jerk Chicken, San Francisco Fish Stew, and Pappardelle With Butternut And Blue Cheese. The Solace of Stirring reminds me of making risotto with my nephew. My arm hurt from all that stirring but it is worth it. Two recipes I really want to make are Saffron Risotto and Risotto Bolognese.

Ah, The Bone Collection is music to my ears and a carnivore’s dream. Some favorites here include Asian Braised Beef Shank With Hot & Sour Shredded Salad, Roasted Duck Legs and Potatoes, Beef Rib Roast With Wild Mushrooms And Cheddar Mashed Potatoes. Kitchen Pickings recipes serve as great appetizers or lunch Dragon Chicken, Coconutty Crab Cakes, Thai Roasted Scallops, and desert Chorros With Chocolate Dipping Sauce. If you need cocktail, and wine suggestions to accompany some of these recipes read Nigella’s And To Wash It All Down… for suggestions. The final chapter The Cook’s Cure For Sunday-Night-Itis does not let up with recipes Pumpkin Scones, Slow Roasted Pork Belly, and Texas Brisket.

As I previously mentioned this cookbook is massive so take it from me there are recipes to keep you busy for years. As the back cover so graciously says “Fabulous Feel Good Food To Make Life Less Complicated And More Pleasurable” and precisely what NIGELLA KITCHEN is.

Nigella Lawson
Nigella Lawson Food Network Recipes
Nigella Lawson Facebook

-Sophia/Two Frys

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