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67 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for Christmas. Not whatsoever. Awesome entertaining cookbook.
I should start out by saying that I don't cook Christmas dinner. That holiday is the province of my best girlfriend, though we are invited (ha! required!) to contribute to the meal. (If we didn't show up with appetizers and dessert there would be a lot of grumbling. Perhaps banishment.) However, we do plenty of cooking around the holidays (New Year's eve is _our_ turn) --...
Published on November 13, 2009 by Esther Schindler

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as her other books
Many of the good recipes in this book are found in her other books, as has been previously mentioned.

What we found disappointing was the lack of her usual depth and precision in description of preparation methods for those recipes which were new.

My wife is a hobbyist gourmet cook and so really knows her way around a recipe and preparation methods...
Published on December 1, 2011 by Steamguy


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67 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for Christmas. Not whatsoever. Awesome entertaining cookbook., November 13, 2009
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This review is from: Nigella Christmas: Food Family Friends Festivities (Hardcover)
I should start out by saying that I don't cook Christmas dinner. That holiday is the province of my best girlfriend, though we are invited (ha! required!) to contribute to the meal. (If we didn't show up with appetizers and dessert there would be a lot of grumbling. Perhaps banishment.) However, we do plenty of cooking around the holidays (New Year's eve is _our_ turn) -- and oh boy oh boy am I glad I have this new cookbook to inspire me. Because despite the title, Nigella could easily have called this book "Entertaining Without Losing Your Mind."

Yes, a large part of the book is given over to recipes for "the main event," i.e. Christmas dinner. You'll find all the usual suspects (at least British style, such as a trifle rather than an apple pie). Certainly, if you're looking for a holiday cookbook, you will have reason to shout with joy.

But unlike Thanksgiving, which means turkey to most people, Christmas has a lot more leeway in regard to what you serve. Ham, turkey, goose, whatever. As a result, plenty of these recipes are suitable for ANYtime you want to entertain a crowd (depending on what "crowd" means to you and the size of your dining table, that could mean as few as 6 and as many as 20). There are several all-inclusive menus, any of which I'd be pleased to put before my guests and which, given Nigella's sensible attitudes about cooking ahead and taking life easy, I might get to enjoy as the cook, too. For example, one of her Christmas dinners is rolled stuffed loin with rubied gravy (ruby being port in this case), Italian roast potatoes with garlic and thyme, Christmas sprouts, red beet orzotto, and panettone pudding. That's a great Christmas meal, sure, but it'd work equally well for Easter. Or for a birthday dinner.

Another reason that this cookbook is useful far beyond the holiday season is that Nigella is clearly aware that people do not show up on your doorstep on Christmas day and disappear that evening. It's a time when people move in for a week, and you have to think, "What the heck can I feed this crowd?" (The other things you think about your mother-in-law's arrival are... well, they aren't about cooking. Let's not go there.)

Anyway, there are a whole bunch of recipes for "entertaining during the season" and they're going to be used year-round. First on my "make this now" list was a lamb and date tagine with pomegranete juice. (We don't eat lamb, so I made it with beef.) This was simply outstanding. The prep time for this stew (that's what a tagine is) was perhaps 15 minutes including pitting the dates; it baked quietly in the oven for two hours. And did I mention it was delicious? I love easy recipes like this, and I'm sure you do, too. (She serves a maple cheesecake with that menu; it would have gone with it perfectly.) I didn't wait to entertain, either. This fed the two of us for three very happy meals; that's among the virtues of a good stew.

Next up on my "who needs a holiday?!" cooking schedule is her potato, parsnip and porcini gratin; or perhaps it'll be the parsleyed fish gratin ("the lazy person's answer to a fish pie").

The cookbook also has several chapters that are particularly welcome at this time of year, such as cocktails and appetizers; a Christmas brunch menu; edible presents and party preserves; and "a bevy of hot drinks." She also has several recipes for what to do with leftover turkey, which might be equally useful at Thanksgiving. Incidentally, you'll also find quite a few dishes that are suitable to serve to vegetarians, from butternut "orzotto" (risotto made with orzo) to a pumpkin and goat's cheese lasagna.

And, of course, everything is kept simple... but not TOO simple. Which is why I've loved Nigella's cookbooks for years.

I was initially a little concerned about ordering this cookbook because the UK Amazon site made it appear that several of the recipes are duplicated from her other books. I did spot a few that are repeats, but just a few, and most of them are variations. It might sound as though, if you already own Feast, you don't need this book. But this is absolutely unique and standalone, and if you made me choose between the two cookbooks... I would cajole you into changing your mind. Sure I can have both! What kind of friend are you?

It's pretty obvious that I'm in love with this cookbook. I'm sure you will feel the same way.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Got it for Christmas!, January 2, 2010
This review is from: Nigella Christmas: Food Family Friends Festivities (Hardcover)
My mother-in-law gave me this lovely book for Christmas and it's everything I had hoped it would be. I am a huge Nigella fan -- love her writing, love the recipes, love the gorgeous photographs. I am not the one in charge of my family's Christmas meals, but it appears that the recipes would also be suitable for other holidays, entertaining, or just because they are good.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nearly missed out on this one!, November 12, 2010
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This review is from: Nigella Christmas: Food Family Friends Festivities (Hardcover)
As a devotee of all things Nigella, I'm ashamed to say it; but I nearly missed out on this wonderful book. I read an early review that said it was a rehash of all things Feast, and I took the reviewers "word" for it.

Fast forward to this week, picked it up at the discount book store to peruse (and feel smugly superior) and was heartbroken to think of all of the treats I'd missed out on for the past year.

The majority of the recipes are new,and those that are revisits are offered with several new variations on a theme. Delightful and Deliciously seductive read, and one that carries through with her unique organizational chapture structure (I like the seasonally festive gift options) A welcome addition to my Nigella collection.

Can't wait to make everything!!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy Extravagance, November 12, 2010
This review is from: Nigella Christmas: Food Family Friends Festivities (Hardcover)
Nigella Lawson is a superb author, no matter what subject she is writing about. All of her books are great! However, I have always felt that she is at her best when writing about Christmas, thus, I feel that this is her finest outing. The Christmas chapters in "How to Eat", "Feast", and "Express" were great...but this book is a homerun! The recipes are perfect for the season, and make you really wnat to get in the kitchen and invite freinds and family over to celebrate.

As always, the recipes are delicious, and they all work like a charm! They are all easy to prepare, but look and taste like something really special. The other great thing about this book (as many other reviewers have pointed out) is that these recipes and menus really work for any entertaining occasion in the fall and winter. I have happily used this book for Halloween, Thanksgiving and New Year as well as Christmas! It makes entertaining for crowds a real and fun possibility, no matter what the occasion.

The recipes in here are absolutely some of my favorite. The Effortless Home Cured Pork (brined in apple juice, maple syrup and spices) is so easy, and yet the meat turns out oozing with flavor and is so tender (no small feat for grocery store pork!)The Lamb and Date Tagine is exotically spiced and the perfect thing to have when you have guests. The Bourbon glazed Ribs and Party Poussins are also completely wonderful and the perfect things for easy holiday entertaining. In fact, the whole festive supper chapter is worth the price alone. There are SO many things that have worked their way into my families traditions. We follow the Christmas day timeline for Thanksgiving and we have the Ginger Glazed Ham, Perfect Roast Potatoes, Braised Red Cabbage, and Spruced Up Vanilla Cake for Christmas night. The baking and desserts are, as ever, the stuff of dreams. Mince Pies, Pecan Plus Pie, Prodigious Pavlova, and the Boozy Trifle are all not to be missed. The homemade presents chapter is now a major part of my holiday push. The Chili Jam, Corn Chow-Chow, and Red Beet Chutney are all popular gifts. Other favorites include; Chestnut Soup, Red Beet Orzotto, Choc Chip Chili, Egg-Nog Syllabub, Pumpkin Lasagne, Maple Roast Parsnips, Pancetta Sprouts, Boston Baked Beans, Cheese and Onion Strata, Girdlebuster Pie, Maple Cheesecake, and Macaroni and Cheese Deluxe. I could go on and on. The book is jam packed with recipes for any and all festive eating and I haven't yet done one that wasn't fun to prepare and delicious to eat!

If all of the above weren't enough, the book is a wonderful presentation. It is filled with lots of beautiful photos that not only show you what the finished dishes should look like, but fill you with seasonal cheer. Of course it is also filled with Nigella's charming, tangle of adjective heavy descriptions. This is a book that will serve you well over the years. The food and entertaining ideas included really help make the holidays special. It's true that this isn't a book you could use every day, but when you do use it, it feels kind of like a stolen treat. It's the special nature of the recipes and their intended use that makes this my favorite cook book. I highly recommend it!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cook book for life - not just for Christmas., April 8, 2010
This review is from: Nigella Christmas: Food Family Friends Festivities (Hardcover)
Like all my Nigella books, I have read this word-for-word, cover-to-cover. (I find them so readable and enticing - rare among my cookery books. The only other cookery writer I've come across who inspires similar devouring is Nigel Slater).
There are some beautiful Christmas-centric pages but I find that much of this book is useful all year. I keep returning to certain favourites on a regular basis. Trouble is, the calorific options are excusable in the midst of festive excess but a recipe for unwanted curvature when eaten all year. My waistline rues the day I discovered the Girdlebuster Pie. (Unlike my family and friends, who love it!)
If you love food, Christmas and serving up sumptuous delights, I'd certainly recommend this book.
Another Nigella triumph.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Notch Entertaining Resource Book, September 24, 2010
This review is from: Nigella Christmas: Food Family Friends Festivities (Hardcover)
"Nigella Christmas" is not just a holiday entertaining book - it's a RESOURCE book. It's a book about many things. About how to be a host, how to break down a party, how to plan your menu, how to set up your service, how to lay your table, even how to create hostess gifts. It's a full-service "how to" guide. Without a doubt - this is one of Nigella's best efforts. Completely comprehensive, thoughtful and nostalgic. I savored every page.

As another reviewer has mentioned - it's not even just for the holidays. You can use this book for any occasion or any gathering. From something as simple as a family dinner to family reunion. You are covered. A few recipe highlights:
- Rolled Stuffed Loin of Pork with Ruby Gravy
- Bourbon-Glazed Ribs
- Aromatic Christmas Ham
- Panettone and Italian Sausage Stuffing

Yummy --- now, I'm hungry for the holidays! I really enjoyed all the extra craft / gift ideas - not to mention all the table setting imagery. Full of so many ideas - I can't wait to take them for a spin myself.

A great resource for your library -- I highly recommend.

Cheers!
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Christmas with a little British flavor!, November 4, 2009
This review is from: Nigella Christmas: Food Family Friends Festivities (Hardcover)
I knew I could count on Nigella to get me into the holiday spirit! This cookbook is just the thing to gather friends and family and spoil them with goodies from your heart and hearth. Loads of reading, in typical fun Nigella style, and encouragement for easing up on the stress of the holidays by providing recipes that are not time consuming, yet very creative. LOVE her time saving make-ahead tips, the plethora of 'gifting' ideas, and the very straight forward directions. Thanks tons, Nigella, for the liberal sprinkling of Christmas cheer in your new cookbook !
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nigella Christmas book, January 8, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Nigella Christmas: Food Family Friends Festivities (Hardcover)
A fantastic book full of great Christmas recipes and so easy to make. Everything turned out perfectly and there was lots of great recipes for edible gifts as well.
Lots of the recipes that were shown on the Nigella Christmas cooking show/dvd were in this book.
It is no longer available in print in Aust and having tried dozens of bookstores as I was desperate to get a copy, I was pleased to find it on line from Amazon. I ordered the book and had received it 6 days later from the US. What a fantastic service!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars With seasonal inspiration and simple menus for feeding friends and family, January 17, 2010
This review is from: Nigella Christmas: Food Family Friends Festivities (Hardcover)
NIGELLA CHRISTMAS: FOOD, FAMILY, FRIENDS, FESTIVITIES arrived a few weeks too late for more timely December mention but still deserves a spot in any lending library where Christmas books are of interest. It provides ideas, recipes, planning and cooking ahead advice, and more to make Christmas enjoyable, offering fine recipes with seasonal inspiration and simple menus for feeding friends and family.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as her other books, December 1, 2011
By 
Steamguy (Washington, United States) - See all my reviews
Many of the good recipes in this book are found in her other books, as has been previously mentioned.

What we found disappointing was the lack of her usual depth and precision in description of preparation methods for those recipes which were new.

My wife is a hobbyist gourmet cook and so really knows her way around a recipe and preparation methods. She reads cookbooks for entertainment and has several shelves full of books. But by following recipes in this book, we had three major (and VERY expensive) failures.

We should have known something was wrong. At several points, my wife said, "This just doesn't make sense." Later we saw her prepare one of these recipes (at which we had failed grandly) on TV and realized that what was written was sadly incomplete.

Her other books are very good, we just can't recommend this one as our failures cost us multiples of the cover price.

Wait for the next edition, perhaps some of these shortcomings will be fixed.
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Nigella Christmas: Food Family Friends Festivities
Nigella Christmas: Food Family Friends Festivities by Nigella Lawson (Hardcover - November 1, 2009)
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