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Nigella Express Hardcover – 2014
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Learn more
"Vivid and fresh... we would drive on the left side of the road to get to her molten-chocolate baby cakes."
"Ms. Lawson brings to life the sensual aspects of cooking, helping you understand not only what you are after, but also the pleasure of the journey."
"Nigella is an icon: a smart, sexy woman who promulgates the idea that it might be fun or even relaxing to make time to cook again...In Nigellaworld, the kitchen is not a science lab with rigid rules and formulas to follow. It's a place to play, sometimes with your friends and kids." --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Nigella Lawson is the author of How to Eat, How to Be a Domestic Goddess (for which she won the British Author of the Year Award), Nigella Bites, Forever Summer, and Feast. She has been profiled in the New York Times Magazine, Gourmet, and many other publications. She lives in London with her two children. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
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- A lot of delicious recipes here, representing a variety a palattes. My favorite section was the "Retro Rapido" where old-school recipes (like avocado & crayfish salad and chef's salad) are Nigella-fied.
- The desserts in particular were relatively easy and spectacular. If you want to make a big "WOW!" at the conclusion of a meal without driving yourself crazy, you'll find plenty of options.
- Nigella, as always, is a beautiful writer. I can pretty much sit down on the couch with any of her cookbooks and read them like novella, even if I don't try all the recipes. This book is no exception.
- There were quite a few recipes that Nigella prefaces with "The ingredient list looks long but..." Sure, once you have everything bought and prepped it's easy to put these dishes together, but an extensive shopping list and a lot of prep work is pretty much the antithesis of express.
- A lot of the ingredients are obscure; this is very typical for Nigella, though. Even if you live in a big city with lots of specialty grocers (like New York or London) that's still a lot of time out of your day to hunt some of these things down or order them online and wait for them to be shipped. Again, that's not express.
- The introduction said that a lot of pantry ingredients would be repeated through out the book, but a lot of them weren't. That makes finding the specialty ingredients make even less sense, especially if you have limited pantry space.
This new cookbook, which accompanies Nigella's new series on the FoodTV network (at a really dreadful, inconvenient hour on Sunday), follows in the now-popular "make a decent sit-down dinner in half an hour" theme. Unlike Rachel Ray (to whom I have no objections, but also no particular tropism), Nigella's idea of "in half an hour" is not necessarily in consecutive minutes. That is, if something takes a short time in the kitchen, but bakes for an hour, it's fair game. That works just fine for me -- I telecommute full time, so slow-cooked fast food is compatible with my lifestyle -- but those who rush to the store on the way home from the office and still have a desire to get dinner on the table by 7pm may sometimes be a teensy bit disappointed.
That might, however, be the only real disappointment in this rather exhaustive set of recipes. Because, based on the handful of things I've cooked from this book so far (and a careful reading of the rest of the book), these are just darned good meals. They aren't the special dishes she included in Feast: Food to Celebrate Life -- for holidays when spending all afternoon in the kitchen is part of the pleasure of the meal -- and they take a lot of shortcuts that Nigella admits freely *are* shortcuts. But they're far better than a takeaway meal, and it's good food, fast. (Duh.)
Everything is organized in meals or moods rather than subjects. That is, there's no chapter for appetizers, another for desserts, etc. It works well given the theme of the book -- who has time to construct a whole menu during the week? -- and also because she can tell you that, while the meat is underway, turn your attention to the vegetables. So "quick food slow" collects recipes that can be prepared ahead to save time later; "instant calmer" offers super-fast soul food; "get up and go" is for breakfast at breakneck speed.
So far, as I said, I've made a few things. Orange French toast is pretty simple -- your basic French toast, but with a syrup made with orange marmalade and juice -- but made a special brunch for visiting family. Her prawn and mango curry uses stuff that I mostly have in the house, such as frozen shrimp, a can of coconut milk, cilantro and bottled red curry paste. With some mango, lime juice, and butternut and sweet potato cubes (apparently available in pre-made packets in the UK, though I've never seen such things here)... in about half an hour we had a great dinner. Truly excellent. Her "sausages with sauerkraut" is a much simplified choucroute garnie and... well, that one was okay. It might have been excellent if I had made the trip to the German grocery for better sausages... or maybe some things shouldn't be simplified *too* much.
There's plenty more here to try: chicken in Riesling (looks like under an hour to the table, with half that in chicken-simmer time), Swedish salmon (with dill and mustard, served with a cucumber salad and potato salad). She has lots of quickly-prepared desserts too, but since I generally shy away from refined sugar I don't pay that much attention to them; nothing personal, Nigella.
Great cookbook. Recommended.