Nigella Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home
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114 of 115 people found the following review helpful
Ordinarily I control my cookbook urges. With a collection of cookbooks that has overrun the available shelf space (cookbooks squished sideways on top of others, some spilling onto the floor, others taking over bookshelves originally allocated to "travel" or "history"), I. must. control. myself. I force myself to take a cookbook out of the library first, to ensure that I want to actually cook from it more than once. If a cookbook survives three recipes, I give myself permission to purchase it.

Not Nigella's. The moment I saw this book was on sale, I pre-ordered it. Doing so was the right decision.

Unlike some of her recent cookbooks, about Feasts or Christmas or Cooking Good Food, Fast, this has less of a specific theme except maybe "comfort food meets your real-life frenetic schedule." The first half of the book, called Kitchen Quandaries, leans toward serving your "dinner in 30 minutes" needs, with chapters like "Hurry up, I'm hungry" and "Off the cuff" (pantry suppers). The second, Kitchen Comforts, is full of recipes for when you're in the mood to chop and stir, segmented into chapters including "The solace of stirring" and "the bone collection."

Her recipes do not disappoint. (Well, they almost never DO disappoint, which is why I could order this book with such confidence.) So far, I've made two meals, both from the fast-food side of the book. "Lemony salmon with cherry tomato couscous" was quick to throw together but sure didn't taste that way; it was good as a cold salad, too, when I wanted lunch the next day. Her "speedy seafood supper" won't make me throw out my recipes for the putter-worthy cioppino, but it was 30 minutes from "What's for dinner?" to pouring the fish stew into a bowl and grabbing a hunk of bread. Even better, that recipe started with a pound of frozen mixed seafood from Trader Joe's; I didn't have to remember to defrost anything (a common "oh drat!" moment in this household). I'm making this week's shopping list now, and am trying to decide if I'll make her "spatchcocked Cornish hen" (with sultanas and pine nuts) or "pork and apple hotpot." It might be both.

Nigella includes a few extra features in this cookbook that I really appreciate. One is a chapter devoted to shortcuts and other things that make life a little easier. In many cases these are obvious tips, at least for someone who's been cooking for 30 years, but in this case I had a few, "Oh, I'll try that!" moments. (I had already learned from her TV shows how handy it is to use kitchen shears to cut up bacon or scallions directly into the pan; if that's all you need to cut up, why dirty a knife and cutting board?) Plus, she has a very good balance between recipes that feed 6-8 and those that serve one or two.

Another thing I like is that she has a postscript to many recipes that tell you what you can do with the leftovers. Some leftovers are intentional, of course, such as poaching chicken with the goal of turning leftovers into one of the chicken salads she suggests. Others, though, answer my "What the heck do I do with THIS?" questions, such as her suggestion to turn leftover Risotto Bolognese into "risotto burgers" with cheese melted on top, served with peas. I wish more cookbooks did this.

This cookbook has already earned its spot on the cookbook shelves, and I've had it for only a week. I expect you'll feel the same way. Highly recommended.
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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2010
I am one of those cookbook collectors who, like another reviewer, is a bit obsessed and running out of shelf space...now more than ever a cookbook must earn its keep to stay--and this one qualifies. It also happens to be my first Nigella book, altho' I bought her Christmas book last year for someone as a gift. I am so glad I bought this cookbook to call my own. It is awesome. The size alone is massive, probably the thickest cookbook I own. Not only is it impressive in size but in the contents and useful information as well. Other reviewers have already mentioned the highlights, many of which I also would have listed--so I will just say, "ditto" on all counts from me too!

Her personality definitely shines thru the pages, so I don't know what another reviewer means when she says it doesn't...not so at all. There are so many passages of her 'talking' on the page to the reader, that I am making a mental note to go back and read it all when I have time, b/c the number of recipes are calling to me right now. But what I have read tells me I like her gutsy and authentic style. For instance, I chuckled today while reading the recipe I made tonight, African Drumsticks; on the top of page where it gives the number of servings it will make, it says: "Serves 4-8 (depending on age and appetite)." Boy, do I know EXACTLY what THAT means. Don't we all? Yet nobody ever says it, except Nigella! Let's get real...and Nigella is! They were tasty and fast & easy to make; and I'm a bit ashamed to admit, ten drumsticks fed LESS than four adults here! She also had a footnote that freezing the chicken in a ziplock with the marinade keeps for three months. I would never have thought to do that. What a great idea--not just for me on a busy weeknight, but for a way to bring food to someone who is sick or bereaved and can't cook for themselves. Just defrost and put in the oven--done.

I sometimes see her cook a recipe or two from this book on Foodnetwork, and the only thing lacking in the book that she includes on the show is to give metric measurements when she bakes. I simply jot down the metric weight in my book to the corresponding recipe when she mentions it on the show. (Altho' I am a cook more than a baker, I so appreciate weighing metric on my digital scale when baking). I made her churros which are stupid easy and will keep a permanent place in my file. Altho' I had another churro recipe I was happy with, I could not make it for my toddler granddaugher b/c of serious food allergies. Nigella's churros are free of dairy/eggs, so my granddaughter ate the churros w/much delight (and to my great pleasure as well as we could make them and eat them together). The Coconut-Cherry Banana Bread was moist, easy, and fast to make; and you can switch out bananas w/any other fruit puree; I switched out the cherries for cranberries. Last night I made a Flourless Chocolate Cake to give to a friend who must eat gluten-free. It was fun and easy to make. I omitted the lime zest and instead added a teaspoon of instant coffee to batter which boosts the taste of chocolate. Saved myself the calories by eliminating the Margarita whipped cream on top. It said to use one 9" springform, but I used many mini-springforms, so I could dole them out as little food gifts and still keep one for me! Easy to be flexible with her recipes. The pics are there to inspire, too. I will be back to report on further recipes as I have many more to go.
Update: I made her little chocolate cups that use an indented muffin pan. I had to use an egg substitute due to allergies, but it came out fine. My 6 yr old grandaughter loved the chocolate edible container underneath the scoop of ice cream we put into it. I wish I had more time to make more recipes!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2010
Nigella Lawson's eighth book features 190 amazing recipes. 60 of these scrumptious recipes are even able to be cooked in 30 minutes or less. The "domestic goddess" writes in a way to capture your attention and actually makes you want to try all of these delectable recipes.

Nigella Lawson's new book, Nigella Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home includes fun information on Nigella's kitchen, and how to turn everyday ingredients into an amazing meal. I personally loved reading about how some of her "Hall of Shame" kitchen gadgets didn't work out for her either. I mean really, who needs all of the gadgets in the kitchen department anyways?

Some of my favorites included in this cookbook:
* African Drumsticks
* Chicken Tortillas
* Coconut Rice
* Curly Pasta with Feta, Spinach and Pine Nuts
* Flourless Chocolate Lime Cake with Margarita Cream (gluten free!)
* Indian Roasted Potatoes
* Parsley Pesto
* Quick Chick Caesar
* Sweet and Sour Chicken
* Venetian Carrot Cake (gluten free!)

Overall, I think that this is a great cookbook for all levels of cooks. It has many different types of recipes and is very easy to read and follow. What more can you ask for in a cookbook?

Thank you to the publisher of Nigella Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home, Hyperion Books, for providing me with a copy for review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Nigella Lawson writers some very nice cookbooks! I have used a number of recipes from her "Nigella Express" and found them quite tempting. Here is a new cookbook from her kitchen. She notes the point of this specific work (Page xix): "The life of a kitchen takes in many moods and many meals. The recipes in this book try to reflect and, more, to celebrate that fact. . . [T]his one is based on the premise that the kitchen is an enduring place of comfort and that the food which comes out of it provides essential sustenance not just for body, but for soul, too."

The book begins with something like "Kitchen Confidential," as Lawson lays out her choices for tools in the kitchen (forget cast iron skillets--too much hassle and too heavy, even though they are glorious instruments of cooking), gadgets (like a slow cooker), shortcuts (e.g., boiling water or how to keep onions from browning).

Part I focuses on recipes related to "Kitchen Quandaries." Recipes abound here, with those catching my fancy including "Crisp chicken cutlets with salad on the side, "Barbecued ground beef, "Chicken teriyaki, "Egg and bacon salad," "Tarragon chicken," "Lone linguini with white truffle oil," "Indian rubbed lamb chops," "Chicken with Greek herb sauce," "Minestrone soup," "South Indian vegetable curry," and "Pasta with pancetta (what a glorious element in cooking!), parsley, and peppers."

Next, a section on "Kitchen Comforts." Among these that intrigue me: "Date steak" (with brown sugar, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, soy sauce, red currant jelly, gingerroot, tomato paste, garlic flavored oil, top loin strip steaks), "Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic" (a tasty dish indeed!), "Saffron risotto" (I enjoy a good risotto!), "Patara lamb shanks," "Greek lamb chops with lemon and potato," and "Pork and apple hotpot" (hotpots are pretty cool dishes).

A nice addition to Nigella Lawson's body of work!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2010
I am a huge Nigella fan and I really liked this cookbook. It is packed with receipes and so far the two that I have cooked (turkey cutlets with gnocchi and feta pasta receipe) have been very good.

My only complaint is that some of the spices are hard to find (like the Shake mixed spices) and there is no place on her website that you can ask where one would find these hard to find items. She used to provide an area on her website to ask stock list questions now it is not possible.

Great book , but some of the ingredients is challenging to find. Also, would love to be able to buy more of her Nigella Living items in the USA and it does not seem there is a retailer who sells this.

The book will leave you wanting more of Nigella, but the challenging part is one has to go to Britan to find most of the items.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2011
This is my first book by Nigella Lawson and it never leaves the coffee table. I have made a few cookies and cakes from this book which are perfectly sweetened and moist; not one was cloying or dry. The dinner entrees I made so far came out perfect as well. My husband is not very fond of vegetarian dishes and even he loves them, they are that tasty and full of bold, beautiful flavor. The book is full of comfort food recipes from different parts of the world made easy. There are also tips of what to do with leftovers. I have yet to make use of them though, these recipes are just that tasty. I also like the make-ahead and freezing tips on baked goods since there are only two of us and the recipes may yield too many scones or cupcakes.

The book is presented beautifully with lots of photographs and the witty little introductions to each recipe that add the perfect touch. These well-loved recipes from her home are now becoming part of my kitchen as well. When this book is not in the kitchen being used, it is on the coffee table and being read and flipped through in anticipation of the next baking/cooking adventure.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2010
This is another fabulous book by Nigella Lawson. It is filled with wonderful recipes and her trademark, charming prose. The great thing about this book (and indeed all of her books) is that it is filled with the kind of food you actually want to eat and to serve to guests. The tone of her recipes are just right. They aren't intimidating and "chefy", and nor do they suffer from the "wasn't that E-Z" mantra that the Food network crowd serves up. Rather, they are tasty and homey as well as elegant and special.

In comparison to her other books, this one does stand out. It has all the best elements of "Express" and "Feast" along with the conversational narrative of "How to Eat". The photography is also wonderful and echos her other books. This then, is a go to whether you are looking for a quick weeknight meal or a special meal with freinds or a special occasion. It's all there!

Personal favorites from this have been: Baked Egg Custard, No Fuss Fruit Tart, Lemon Meruinge Fool, Mexican Lasagne, Avocado Salsa, Spanish Chicken and Chorizo, Praised Chicken, Grasshopper Pie, Irish Oaten Rolls, Lemon Polenta Cake, Sweet and Sour Chicken, Carbonnade a la flamande, Pappardelle with Butternut and Blue Cheese, Date Steak, Risotto Bolognese, Wholegrain Mustard and Ginger Cocktail Sausages, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Maple Pecan Bundt Cake, Jumbleberry Jam, Barbecued Ground Beef, Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins, Chocolate Key Lime Pie, Spring Chicken, Mussels with Cider, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake, Crisp Chicken Cutlets, Venetian Carrot Cake, Asian Braised Beef Shank, Hot and Sour Shredded Salad, Tangy Mashed Potatoes and Parsnips, Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic, Frangelico Tiramisu, Egg and Bacon Salad, Flourless Chocolate Lime Cake, Buttermilk Scones, Strawberry Almond Crumble, Tarragon Chicken, Seed Cake, Coconut and Cherry Banana Bread, Sherry Glazed Chorizo, Homestyle Jerk Chicken, Rice and Peas, No Churn Pina Colada Ice Cream, Swedish Summer Cake, Chicken Teriyaki, Chicken Fajitas, Jumbo Chili Sauce, Sunshine Soup, African Drumsticks, Turkey Meatballs in Tomato Sauce, Chicken with Greek Herb Sauce, Chocolate Orange Loaf Cake, Guinness Gingerbread, Blondies, Devils Food Cake, Slut's Spaghetti, and, Avocado Quessadillas. These recipes only scratch the surface, the book is crammed with many more tempting recipe ideas.

I know the above list looks long, but it is an honest account of the recipes that I have made multiple times. They are so good, they were definitley worth repeating!!

This book is also very informational and would make a great wedding or housewarming present. More than that, Nigella Lawson is a wonderful writer and speaks passionatley about her subject. This book reminds us that you don't have to be a trained chef to cook marvelous food. It also encourages us to gather our freinds and family around us and share in everything from weeknight meals to larger occasions, and make them special. I cannot reccomend this book enough,it is the definitive guide on proper home food!

UPDATE: 08/24/11 - I have been using this book for about a year and am still completely impressed. It is such a valuable resource. It has everything I need for entertaining, family meals, and eating healthy. I know the latter does not sound like a normal feature of Nigella Lawson recipes, but there are several here that fit neatly into a low cal. lifestyle. This book is a great buy and a real workhorse in the kitchen!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2010
I went out and bought this book after hearing Lawson on NPR one morning a few weeks ago. I am not disappointed! Not only is this book a feast for the eyes, it's a feast for the tastebuds, too! After having the book for only a couple of weeks, I have made four of the recipes and have several more bookmarked. We loved the banana coconut cake (which is great leftover, toasted for breakfast), Thai chicken noodle soup, butternut pappardelle with bleu cheese (I substituted gnocci) and ham and edamame bean salad. Because I have a pretty extensive cookbook library, I was afraid that there wouldn't be anything new or inspiring in the book when I picked it up in the store. Not true at all! I highly recommend this fresh, fun, beautifully photographed book!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 22, 2012
I bought this book as much for Nigella's superb writing as much as for the recipes themselves. I find myself reading this in bed, putting post-its on recipes to try and just enjoying what she has to say - I particularly loved the "Cook It Better" chapter, where she describes her inability to throw anything away. There are recipes here for stale bread (Panzanella, bread pudding), vegetable odds and ends (throw them into a green curry), subpar strawberries (make crumble). I especially enjoyed her describing "making a banoffee cheesecake rise out of the sad ashes of a blackening bunch of bananas." So outrageous you can't help but admire her audacity. I have made her Asian Beef stew recipe, which I found a bit too generous with Chinese cooking wine and rice wine vinegar. Chinese people seldom use more than a dash of each, she calls for cups of the stuff. Still, she doesn't pretend to be authentic, and freely advocates adjusting to one's tastes. Agreed. The other recipe I tried - and man I wish I didn't - were her Sweet and Salty Nut Crunch Bars. SO. GOOD. It might sound simple, but taste and see - this is really a case where the whole is far greater than the sum of its parts. Try it and see - every sweet, salty, crunchy, crumbly bit of it. NOT something you make on a diet. OK, I gotta go now. Those bars are calling my name already.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2010
After watching Nigella on the Today Show, I wanted to try one of her recipes and so I sent for her books. I have had great pleasure in trying many of her recipes and have enjoyed them all. I also shared my purchases with my very talented Granddaughter who has risen to the top cook in the family dynasty.

Nigella is a no nonsense cook who looks for quality and doability when she produces her recipes for the cookbooks. I have enjoyed many of them.

Fotunately, I have always used Amazon for my books and they came through as usual
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