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on 11 March 2008
I am a huge fan of cooking and I'm at my happiest when I am in the kitchen, whizzing up gourmet meals for ten dinner guests. However, I also have a toddler, baby and husband to feed every evening. Not only is time precious, but the food has to be tasty to be accepted!

Cue Nigella Express.
I have made dozens of recipes from this book and so far every single one of them has worked, and has been praised and revered by all who have sampled them. The Tiramisu is one of the best I have ever eaten, and it's one of my favourite desserts. The black beans with tuna is to die for, as are the chickpeas with rocket and sherry. I have to admit that my husband and toddler looked at me like I'd gone mad when I presented them with a bowl of chickpeas for dinner. But ten minutes, and two full bellies later, they admitted that it was stunningly good.

Fab, fab, fab is all I can say. Don't even think about not buying it!!!
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on 10 September 2007
...and Nigella explains her reasons for this book:

'This is, as the title makes clear, a book about fast food, but it is a book about fast food for those who love eating. Perhaps that's self-evident: How could I write any other sort?...
But, here's the main problem : the day doesn't have enough gaps in it for me to do much shopping and the evening - what with the battles over homework, the still unchecked-off list of things I was meant to do, the calls I was supposed to return - doesn't yield much time to cook.
But I must eat, and I must eat well - or else what is the point of it all?...
I could go on, but in the interest of brevity and the 'Express' spirit, it seems only right to cut straight to the chase.
The recipes that follow are not simply quick to cook, they attempt to make the whole of your cooking life - and as a consequence, all of your life - easier...
Good Food Fast.'

Nigella contemplates her spaghetti on the front cover and inside one finds a selection of typical everyday recipes, such as:

♦ High-Speed Hamburger with Fast Fries
♦ Quick Chilli
♦ Macaroni Cheese
♦ Butterfly Cakes
♦ Roly-Poly Pudding

mingling with the, perhaps, lesser well-known, but nevertheless intriguing:

♦ Red Prawn & Mango Curry
♦ Green Apple Martini
♦ Red-Leaf, Fig & Serrano Ham Salad
♦ Chopped Ceviche & Mexicola
♦ Roquamole
♦ Hokey Pokey

Launched to coincide with her latest BBC TV series, this chunky tome has 390 high quality pages, split over main chapters:

(1) Everyday Easy ~ speedy suppers, day in, day out
(2) Workday Winners ~ weekday entertaining made easy
(3) Retro Rapido ~ time-warp favourites given the express twist
(4) Get Up and Go ~ breakfast at breakneck speed
(5) Quick Quick Slow ~ prepare ahead to save time later
(6) Against the Clock ~ no time? No problem
(7) Instant Calmer ~ super fast soul food
(8) Razzle Dazzle ~ give a party pronto
(9) Speedy Gonzales ~ Mexican-inspired moments
(10) On the Run ~ food for eating on the hoof, packed lunches and picnics
(11) Hey Presto ~ instant Italian
(12) Holiday Snaps ~ Christmas quickies
(13) Storecupboard SOS ~ how to cope when there's no time to go shopping

...sandwiched between an introduction and a full index, complete with a ribbon bookmark to keep the place.

Each chapter opens with the famous Nigella banter, as does each recipe, e.g.:

♦ Lamb Olive and Caramelized Onion Tagine

'Nearly all stews start with chopped onion. Here is the lazy person's version, which uses some caramelised onion out of a jar instead...And I add to the desirable idleness by not even searing the meat. I just tip everything into a big pan and let it do its own sweet thing without any interference from me. I don't actually cook this recipe in 'a tagine' - though often serve it in one - but ever since someone told me that in Morocco most tagines are made in pressure cookers, I have felt unembarrassed by calling something cooked in a pan ~ 'a tagine'...'

The recipes are clearly laid out with the title in pale pink capital letters, followed by an opening note, the list/s of ingredients, an easy to follow numbered method and the number of servings and, if applicable - notes on accompaniments and/or a footnote. Full colour photography throughout.

A very small taste of the other recipes contained within:

* Anglo-Asian Lamb Salad
* Mustard Pork Chops
* Rapid Ragu
* Naan Pizza
* Caramel Croissant Pudding
* Potato and Mushroom Gratin
* Eton Mess
* Cheese Fondue
* Crepes Suzette
* Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
* Go Get 'Em Smoothie
* Frittata Party!
* Croque Monsieur Bake
* Maple Chicken 'N' Ribs
* Gravlax Sashimi
* Irish Cream Tiramisu
* Totally Chocolate Chip Cookies
* Sweetcorn Chowder with Toasted Tortillas
* Amaretto Syllabub
* Holiday Hot Cake with Eggnog Cream
* Hot Toddy
* Curry in a Hurry

...not forgetting my favourite quickie, to date:

'Instant Chocolate Mousse' from pages 158/9, serving 4-6, and with the added bonus of being egg-free - 'no yolks, no whites, no whisking, no waiting'
Simply delicious ~ but I admit to adding some white chocolate shavings on the top of mine!
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on 3 November 2007
I was wary of buying this. How many Nigella cookery books does one need? (I have them all.) But this is brilliant. Because they're all quick recipes, you know you can just read them before making and won't get to the end of the recipe and find it says "best made 24 hours before eating". Some of the recipes aren't super healthy, but if you like to eat healthily just avoid them. I've heard some (the croissant pudding) don't work, but all the ones I've tried have. There's a superb smoked trout pate recipe in there, ditto mirin glazed salmon that I've made many times. And a lovely loaf recipe that's wholesome, uses yeast but involves no proving. Genius! I really recommend this book to everyone, but especially those with little time on their hands as this is fab, fast, food.
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VINE VOICEon 19 September 2007
One word describes this book for me...YUM. From the gorgeous design to the mouth-watering photos to the chatty style of Nigella Lawson's writing...this is a book to sit and read for pleasure, as much as it is a 'recipe book' to be instructed by.

There are thirteen sections to the book, with chapters covering speedy entertaining, breakfast in a hurry, superfast soul food, instant Italian etc. There's a good range of recipes with starters, snacks, drinks and puddings all getting plentiful coverage. (The desserts - including Irish Cream Tiramisu, Totally Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies, Ginger Passionfruit Trifle and many more make this book worth the cover price alone!)
The one thing I'm not keen on is the occasional snap of Nigella in her pjs but I'm still going to give it five stars. Delicious!
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VINE VOICEon 6 September 2007
Yet another fantastic book from Nigella! Apart from the beautiful grey/pink presentation complete with retro pictures, the actual content is superb! It is different from her previous books in the way that the friendly chat she introduces each recipe with is cut down considerably. So although you still have a comforting narrative to guide you through each recipe, it's short and sweet and cuts to the chase. Also, in keeping with the 'express' theme, there is a recipe per page with bullet point methods. This makes it particularly easy to read when in a hurry. There are beautiful photos to drool over too!
I am very impressed with this latest book of Nigella's. I always thought 'Feast' would be incredibly hard to beat in all aspects. And although 'Express' deals with a different type of cooking, it is just as good and definitely up to the very high standard she has set for herself.
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on 26 March 2008
My husband and I love to cook, but with two kids and both working full-time, we either end up using convenience foods or not eating until about 9 o'clock if we want to make something tasty - by which time we're falling asleep in our dinner.

I bought this book on the strength of just the first episode of Nigella's series and I was not dissapointed with the other recipes!

I'm not too impressed with the chapters as it doesn't make it particularly easy to search by ingredient or food type but the recipes are quick, easy and tasty.

I made the chilli recipe for all the adult guests at my son's 3rd birthday party and they were all suitably impressed - it's fantastic...but simple!

I wouldn't be without this book now - I even photocopied some of the recipes when I went on a self-catering holiday to Portugal.

A must buy for busy people who love food!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 1 December 2007
I love Nigella Lawson's recipe books. She writes so well that the books are a pleasure to read as well as being a good source of recipes. She always makes everything sound so delicious that you can't wait to try it. The photography in this book is also excellent and every recipe is illustrated.

The theme for this book is good food fast. The "fast" is somewhat loose (I can't see how her version of coq au vin could be turned around in less than an hour, which rules it out as an after work option in our household). Besides evening meals there are breakfast options, party foods and (as always with Nigella's books) plenty of cakes and sweet things. If you try to follow a low fat diet, this is probably not the cookbook for you. Her instructions are easy to follow and she suggests substitutions for hard to find ingredients.

We have tried and enjoyed the mustard pork chops (though I prefer pasta as an accompaniment rather than the potato gnocchi that she suggests), the mirin glazed salmon (though I already had similar recipes that were similar and equally good) and the quick calamari. They were all very simple to prepare and went down well with the family. I had less success with the croque monsieur bake which emerged burnt at the edges (although that could possibly be the fault of my oven). And while the chocolate peanut butter fudge sauce went down well with my children, it was too sickly sweet for my and my husband's tastebuds.

Overall a beautiful recipe book which I'm happy to add to the collection. I'm sure it will get a good workout over the pre-Christmas period.
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I must admit, I wasn't expecting too much from this book as the TV series didn't excite me as much as I thought it would. I found some of footage of Nigella being an everyday mum and wife a bit hard to swallow, it was a bit too nicey nicey - middle England at it's most bourgeois!

...BUT - this is a fantastic recipe book and true to the Express philosophy. Me and my missus have a quick test to determine the usefulness of a recipe book, we swiftly thumb through it and if we see half a dozen recipes we know we will do then it gets the thumbs up. Upon further reading this throws out some great recipes - and all quick ones.

It is pleasantly divided and set out well. Beautifully photographed to ensure that you are salivating like a rabid dog before you even start to get the ingredients from the cupboard.

As I have already said - the recipes are all designed to be made quickly and with minimal effort, although some are more involved than others, this is the best book of 'quick dishes' I have seen.
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on 17 September 2007
We all adore (or want to be) Nigella in our house! We love time spent fiddling around with a zillion ingredients, gallons of cream and a dozen eggs BUT this is fabulous too!!

I have two children who love tasty food (who doesn't?) and I needed some new ideas for quick meals! You will find plenty of them in this book and your kids will love trying out some new flavours!! Popular with my two are the white bean mash, chicken schnitzel with bacon and green eggs and ham (frequently accompanied by the Dr Seuss story of the same name!).

Don't be put off by the "Express" element of the title! This is a great book with just enough Nigella chat to also make it a good read when you're not cooking.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 18 December 2010
My wife loves her cooking - and from time to time I buy her a new cookery book. I don't tend to stick with the same celebrity chef - I tend to buy her a selection.

This was my first by Nigella and it's an absolute cracker. The book is full of wonderful recipes that you can do in say a half hr or so. Very easy to follow and beautifully illustrated. My wife has some firm favourites in there - Moroccan meatballs with pomegranate seeds...mmmm (may sound not nice but trust me - wonderful food when its cold outside). Having said that, as I think you have with all cookery books, there are recipes in there that are not attractive an so I can't see my wife using them. On the whole, we must have at one recipe or so each week - so a very worthwhile investment.

If you like cooking, and want a book that you can pick up and knock something together quickly - this is an ideal book for you.

Highly recommended.
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