on 5 February 2011
(..)I have to say that this lovely recipe book represents extraordinarily good value for money. Nigella's recipes actually work and if you take the time to read the pre-ambles you will also get a clear idea of how they work. You are encouraged to add your own flavours and consider your own alteratives according to what is available which I think is an excellent way to really get a feel for how to cook. I only own one other of Nigella's books and I have seen no repetition so far so I couldn't comment on that, but in any case I think this one is very up to date in terms of cooking and preparation methods and also covers issues such as freezing and making use of left overs from the individual recipes which is very useful indeed. I happen to enjoy Nigella's chatty style and she does make me smile - which contributes to the overall pleasurable experience of cooking as far as I am concerned!
on 2 September 2010
I'm giving a short review here, so you can have a real wow when you see it live.
Beautiful pictures of the dishes, many step by steps and plenty of Nigella herself too. There is a lot of writing in this book, so even when you are food reading (as opposed to actually cooking) there is plenty here. The recipes themselves are wide and varied, straight forward and easy to follow.
I am a huge fan of Nigella Lawson, and it is with so much anticipation that I've awaited this new book. It has been hailed as the real follow up to How to Eat, and as such for myself and other Nigella devotees there has been an awful lot of expectation attached to Kitchen. So does it match expectation and measure up? I'm really so pleased to say - yes it does! It's a happy feeling knowing there is a HUGE new Nigella book to read and cook from for the forseeable future, and a TV series coming soon too. Very happy bunny.
on 21 January 2011
Firstly, this book is lovely to read. It's really nicely written, and Nigella's personality comes through very well. Each recipe begins with a little paragraph, explaining more about certain ingredients, the inspiration for the dish and other such information. The recipes themselves are easy to follow, and the writing style and tone are reassuring and encouraging. The photography is also wonderful, making you want to make everything in it as you flick through!
I really enjoyed the `Praised Chicken' dish, which was hearty, filling and simple to prepare - just make sure that you have a pot large enough to put a whole chicken into! I also used the leftovers to make another chicken recipe - the chicken noodle soup - which was lovely too. Nigella suggests ways to use up leftovers from many of her recipes, which is especially useful for me as my boyfriend and I generally cook for just the two of us. She also gives information on the best way to store or freeze the dishes, which is a good time-saver and helps to ensure that there is minimal waste.
Some of the recipes call for ingredients that people may not already have in their store cupboard. However, I have found that once I have bought these, they last for a long time and can be used in many of Nigella's dishes from this book. For example, I bought some mirin and a bottle of Vermouth because they were required in recipes that I was making, and I have since been able to use them in others. As a keen cook, I don't mind this at all because it helps to build up my store cupboard!
The peanut butter cheesecake is delicious - and fairly huge when it's made! It's very rich though so you can only really eat a small slice at a time. It would be ideal to serve as a dessert for a large group of people. This recipe involves three main stages to complete the layers of the cheesecake, but Nigella explains these clearly and I ended up with a dish that looked like the one in the photograph, without getting into a big mess!
Some of the recipes are very simple, perhaps more so than in some of Nigella's previous books. Although I have heard some criticise `Kitchen' for this reason, I think that I have used the book more frequently because of this. I love to spend all afternoon in the kitchen at weekends with my partner, preparing dinner for friends, or just ourselves. But, after we've both had a busy day at work, it's nice to be able to use the book to make something quick, easy, but still satisfying. The seafood supper is an excellent example of this. I served it with some crusty bread for dipping and some couscous to soak up all of the juices, and although the whole meal was quick to make, it was lovely.
Overall, I think that this book is great, and I'm looking forward to making lots more of the dishes!
on 8 November 2012
I was a bit of a latecomer to Nigella and Kitchen was the first of her books I owned. In a moment of madness I vowed to try every recipe in the book (no doubt inspired by one of my favourite films "Julie & Julia"). Almost 2 years later and 120 recipes down, I feel well qualified to write a review!
Firstly, I adore her writing style, and spent the first few days reading her tips and recipes before attempting any. All of the recipes I have tried have been really easy to follow and have worked out well, with not one disaster. (If I compare this to Lorraine Pascale, I have tried three of her recipes and two had me close to tears!). Some of the recipes in Kitchen have become firm favourites at home and these include Pantry Paella, Mexican Lasagne with Avocado Salsa, Fajitas, Lone Linguine with Truffle Oil (pure indulgence!), Jerk Chicken with Rice & Peas, Date Steak and, dare I say it, Spaghetti with Marmite. On the baking side I adored the Blondies, Chocolate Orange Loaf, Cherry Coconut and Banana Bread, Blueberry & Cornmeal Muffins, Devil's Food Cake and the Swedish Summer Cake. The No Fuss Fruit Tart was also a bit of a showstopper! Unfortunately I did not particularly enjoy the Scallops with Thai Pea Purée, the Venetian Lasagne or the Patara Lamb Shanks but this was due to personal taste rather than a bad recipe. Overall, an easy to follow book with lots of lovely recipes that turn out exactly as they should. Perfect!
on 30 October 2011
This is a gorgeous book. Loads of recipes, lots of yummy looking pictures, lots of variety, lots of inspiration. Have so far very much enjoyed the recipes - just made the 'blondies' and forgot to put the egg in (IDIOT!) but they still turned out yummy. I notice that a lot of reviewers criticise the overlap between this and other Nigella books; well, I own 'How To Eat', 'Domestic Goddess', 'Nigella Christmas' and now 'Kitchen' - and I haven't noticed any substantial degree of repetition. The overlap must be more with books like 'Feast'.
I've only given the book four stars because I have two little gripes. First, the way the book is organised seems thoroughly haphazard to me. If the index fell out, this book would be impossible to navigate, since nothing is categorised logically. Second, many of the recipes are designed for entertaining, and so specify quantities for 8-10 people. Well, I don't entertain 8-10 people nearly as often as I have to feed 3 extremely crotchety and hungry people, two of them aged under 10, at high speed- so quite frankly, I'd rather the quantities were specified for four people and then I'd double them on the bi-annual occasions when I have to entertain!
But still, I really like this book and feel it's money well spent. Quite apart from anything, if you're the type of person (like me) who just loves to read cookbooks, the prose and pictures are a comforting delight!
on 22 April 2012
This woman is nothing short of a goddess in the kitchen(as previous titles have told us). Honey coated descriptions of foods and products that make you want to spend some quality time alone with your fridge.Unctious sauces,anoitments for beef..Lordy!!!Seriously though,all of her cook books deliver what 99% of the others fail to do. Damn fine food!I have yet to try one of her recipes that I have not thought to be absolutley fantastic.Oliver's are bland, I dont like swearing at saucepans so Ramsey's out and I'm sorry Heston, but I cant find vacuum packed nitrogen anywhere in Tesco's. Buy and use this book, you won't be disappointed.
on 4 January 2012
The premise of this book is that it is family meals, there are a lot of things to recommend this book even if I wasn't already a huge Nigella fan.
The layout is very good, and I did particularly enjoy the list of the 10 least useful kitchen gadgets she had ever bought. The basic equipment and ingredients lists might have been helpful if I didn't already have my own storecupboard essentials list. The ideas for leftovers of the main recipes are also very welcome, it's nice to have these especially as there is only myself and my partner at home and I can't always be bothered reducing recipes, and prefer to make the full complement and have lovely leftovers, so now I have even more ideas of what to do with them. There really is nothing nicer than having a fridge full of ready goodies, and having leftovers for lunch at work instead of a boring sandwich.
Some of my favourites from this book are the mexican lasagne, the individual pizza things (which are actually more like a cheesy yorkshire pudding with toppings), the brownie bowls, the coq au reisling, the turkey meatballs, and the scallops with chorizo, which is recommended to be served with the sherry and rocket chickpeas. All yummy!
This is full of things I want to cook, but more importantly it is full of things I want to eat.
on 23 January 2011
What can I say - I don't consider myself to be an amazing cook, but somehow for the past few years Nigella's cook books have been helping me 'get away with it' and this book is no exception. A few minutes preparation yesterday was all it took to create the 'Asian braised shin of Beef' and yet the results would have led anyone to believe I had spent hours in the kitchen. The meat could be cut with a spoon and the sauce was the kind that just made you want to lick your plate clean! Same again with the 'praised chicken' - a delicious yet simple to make recipe.
Treat wise, the 'Everyday brownies' and the 'sweet and salty crunchy nut bars' were again so simple to make and all to easy to eat. Ideal recipes for someone like me who is fairly clumsy and impatient in the kitchen and doesn't want to spend hours fiddling about to make something delicious all the time.
I love the spread of cuisines in this book, from asian,to mexican to italian to american - not necessarliy authentic all the time, but who cares when the results taste so good!
My son bought me this book for Christmas (definitely an ulterior motive as he wanted the recipe for the sweet and salty crunchy nut bars) and it has been well used already. This will be one cook book that doesn't sit on the shelf gathering dust!
on 22 September 2010
I love Nigella, I have all her other books and turn to them regularly. I've always loved Feast and Domestic Goddess in particular, but the layout of this book reminds me of Express - what with the confusing chapter titles that bundle recipes in very vague groups. It can be hard to find what you're looking for without the index - I think chapters should be more logical than this.
Having tested four of the recipes right away, I have to say the results aren't as good as I expected from Nigella. The pasta with marmite was okay, but didn't really warrant such a fuss, in my opinion. The Blondies were a total disaster for me and I really didn't get the point of the recipe at all. Also, I was under the impression that in US cooking at least, there is already such a thing as a Blondie, but this recipe in no way resembled that - it's supposed to be a brownie with no chocolate. The red velvet cupcakes were a success - I would make them again as they were very moist and stayed so for an entire week. However, the direction to add vinegar or lemon to the frosting I would query, because adding vinegar to mine just made it taste of vinegar, as you would expect! Lastly, the chicken with 40 cloves of garlic recipe was good, but I think the steps were way too fiddly and could have been done much easier, with the same amount of washing up involved, in a frying pan and casserole dish rather than a bowl and casserole dish. Also, there's a slight error in the ingredients list which makes it look like you add a lot more wine than you're supposed to - it's easy to spot as a mistake, but is a bit confusing at first!
When you cook four recipes at random from a cook book and two are disappointments, one has an error in the ingredients list, and one gives a strange result, it's rather worrying. I hope I just picked the worst recipes, but I'm reluctant to cook anything else out of this without a recommendation from someone who has cooked it and found it to be any good!
Sorry Nigella. But I still love you.
on 28 September 2011
How to Eat and Domestic Goddess,the latter especially, are amongst my top cookbooks of the last decade. Since then, I haven't much liked any Nigella offering, and haven't even looked at some of her later books. I picked this up in the library on impulse, and am now going to buy my own copy. Perhaps, judging from some of the other reviews, it works for me as I haven't used her books inbetween HTE and DG, so the recipes feel fresh, if obviously from the Nigella canon.
So far, I've only made two recipes:
Choc chip cookies: simply delicious, perfect
Traditional cheesecake: I would prefer a biscuit base, but the actual cheesecake was fabulous
I'm inspired to try many more. The book does what it sets out to achieve, give ideas and renewed enthusiasm for routine domestic (as opposed to cheffy) cooking.
I like the fact she has recipes aimed at families with teenagers, and I especially appreciate that every recipe has a note on freezing and/or making in advance.
I also agree with the comments of many other reviewers about the personal, anecdotal style of this book. Nigella excels at welcoming you into her world of culinary delights, in a warm and witty fashion. It is beautifully photographed and laid out.