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No one quite like Nigella

Last week I wrote about Jamie Oliver, so there was no way that I wouldn't write about Nigella Lawson this week. I mean I've got to give them equal weight-age right? After all, they are both quintessential to my cookbook collection.

The big question for me, really was - which of her books was I going to review? I know I've mentioned this before - I've got a special place in my drawing room for her books since I have nearly all of them.(Except from Nigella Christmas


Through my drive to work today, I tried to think of all the things I had made from her books, all the parties I'd hosted - hors d'oeuvres, the dips and the desserts that I'd made thanks to her books. And I tried hard to think of the first thing that I ever made from her book. Then I realised, that I actually hadn't - it was her TV show that had inspired me. And it was through the TV show that I had actually made my first recipe - the Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake (I took the liberty to post this picture from her website), which had the most amazing frosting - chocolate and sourcream - that had my friends eating out of my hands.


Of course, there's so much talk about Nigella - food porn, say some. Heaving bosoms say others. Too many shortcuts say experts but I say yes! to all of this and more. You see, the thing with Nigella - all the above apart - she's very accessible - it feels almost like you're cooking with her, rather than getting professional chop-chop like instructions.

She's ok if you make a mess - rather she asks you to embrace it. She's happy if you make substitutions, rather she expects from you to do the same. She's always giving out tips and how-tos that help you make quick

The show, Nigella’s Feast was very fun to watch – that one particular episode taught you how to make brownies, cheesecake, bars and this cake. The next one, was about this amazing chilli con carne and another a chocolate cherry trifle. It was hard to stop watching it. A google search later I realized that the show was a spin-off on her book, Feast: Food to celebrate life.
The moment I bought the book, I was totally taken in by the way the book was divided into sections – with meals and menus planned. With an idea for every occasion. But my favourite from the book was the Chocolate Cake Hall of Fame. Every single recipe looked amazing. And I have tried every single recipe from that section.
Read my lips. Every last one of the chocolate recipe. I loved the chocolate honey cake, the quadruple chocolate cake is my absolute favourite, in fact my go-to recipe, the chocolate gingerbread was made when I found some treacle in a shop, the tropical chocolate cake - despite it's unusual ingredients such as pineapple, cream cheese and malibu - is awesome. Tastes like pina colada on a high. The Chocolate meringue truffle cake is only made when there are super special people coming over. The chocolate Malteaser cake has been even sent off to friends in other cities.
Despite that, the recipes that I have made over and over, is from another section of the book. In fact, for this years Christmas party I made almost everything from that section - Basil and Goat cheese dip, Aubergine dip, Red hummus, meatballs, herbed bulgur wheat salad and the cardamom chicken. Needless to say, I barely had any leftovers.
The point is, I haven't just baked from this book - I've cooked from it too. I know that a lot of people find her food too rich, too unhealthy but the thing is everything can be made healthier. Substitution is king - as long as you read and ask, you'll be just fine.
The pictures are beautiful, the stories are marvelous, but is this my favourite of all her books? I'd like to think so - after all there's nobody out there quite like Nigella.

The book is available in India, US and UK

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