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182 of 192 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm such a sucker for Nigella
I can't help really, really liking Nigella Lawson; she forces me, in spite of myself. I try to remember she's married to a millionaire and that she's probably written this whole Christmassy book in the middle of August but ... there's something genuine about her passion for parties, drinks, canapes, turkey... that by the end, is making me wish I was her. Or at least her...
Published on 3 Oct 2008 by emma who reads a lot

versus
50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too many recycled recipes
I've got quite a few of the Nigella books and borrowed this book in the run up to Christmas to see if it's worth buying. For me, it's definitely not. Most of the recipes have appeared in earlier Nigella books, and it's not worth shelling out for something I've already got.

The book is beautifully presented and I'm sure it would be useful if you needed one...
Published on 22 Dec 2008 by Jen13


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182 of 192 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm such a sucker for Nigella, 3 Oct 2008
By 
emma who reads a lot (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
I can't help really, really liking Nigella Lawson; she forces me, in spite of myself. I try to remember she's married to a millionaire and that she's probably written this whole Christmassy book in the middle of August but ... there's something genuine about her passion for parties, drinks, canapes, turkey... that by the end, is making me wish I was her. Or at least her friend.

This is a great christmas book, (although I am NOT going to agree with the person who says it's loads better than Delia! Don't be stupid! You cannot swap this book for Delia at christmas, not least for the simple practical reason that Nigella is WAY too big to go to Waitrose in the trolley. And I'm not putting chocolate in the Christmas cake, whatever NL says).

What is unique about Nigella's book? The little details you don't expect. Black bean soup hangover cures. Chicken soup flu remedies. A sharp fruit salad to wake you up on Christmas morning. Her naughty selection of Yuletide drinks (martinis made with earl grey tea, and um, honeyed vodka....).

There's a great selection of twists on the conventional Christmas book stuff: preserves to make as gifts include chilli jam, pomegranate vodka and gorgeous little sweets in the shape of xmas puddings.

Long-time Nigella users will not be surprised that cupcakes make it in there: Christmas fairy cakes have silver sprinkles on, apparently. And I will definitely concede that Nigella's yule log actually looks better than Delia's, though I haven't done a back-to-back taste test. And can't actually promise to.

For me one of the big tests of a Christmas cookbook is the vegetarian option, because it's SO HARD to find nice ones to make things as special for the non-meat eaters. Hers is a ginormous pumpkin stuffed with rice. It looks gorgeous, but I'm not sure whether all those extra carbs are what you need on National Roast Potato Day.

The leftovers recipes, another test, are great. Cassoulet for leftover goose, oriental beef salad for beef, and her agent Ed Victor's turkey hash for the dreaded bird.

The only problem with changing ANY of the reliable recipes at Christmas is that it ruins the whole day if they are rubbish, and then you have to wait a whole year to fix the mistakes. One thing I'm absolutely sold on is her FOUR PAGE Christmas pudding which even she describes as "the ultimate". You even get instructions for how to stir it, for which I once more love her.

So look I think this book is probably a must-have. So few pictures of her in her ringlets simpering this time around that I almost miss them, and loads of her very funny, motivating, seductive prose about food. I won't be swapping from Delia's red cabbage, but I will definitely be trying quite a lot of stuff out of this book, on the basis that for me, her recipes are utterly reliable and always turn out a treat. And I haven't even mentioned the prosecco jelly...

Update 23/10/08
I hadn't quite realised until other reviewers pointed it out that this book is absolutely CHOCKA with repeat recipes. Spurred by their criticisms I sat in the kitchen last night flicking through my other NIgella books and realised that almost half the recipes in Nigella Christmas have already appeared in other titles - even though she has, I admit, slightly modified most of them. (Eg chestnut and lentil soup is now just chestnut, rocky road has glacé cherries in it, etc etc.) But still! I am a bit shocked. The good thing of course is that all the recipes are in one place, so you don't have to go hunting through her other books to find the Christmas ones. However it does make me think a bit less of the book.
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147 of 158 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The build up to Christmas has begun!, 4 Oct 2008
By 
Pompom (Devon) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Nigella Lawson writes a good recipe. And here she has also created a gorgeous christmas cookbook. The whole book is evocative of the season - I can almost smell the aromas..... Of course the book contains the basics - Christmas dinner, christmas cake and christmas puddding. But then Nigella plunges off in a number of different directions; chapters include: The More the Merrier (Cocktails, Canapes and Manageable Mass Catering), Seasonal Support (Soups, Salad, Sauces and Serve-later Sides), Come On Over.... (Stress-Free Suppers), The Main Event (this section is red edged so easy to find in the centre of the book), Joy to the World (Christmas Baking and Sweet Treats), All Wrapped Up (Edible Presents and Party Preserves), A Christmas Brunch for 6-8, A Bevy of Hot Drinks, Dr Lawson Prescribes (Let Food be your medicine....). Punctuated throughout with gorgeous photos - it's a delight just to flick through. I'm certainly thinking on moving away from traditional turkey for christmas dinner after reading the Main Event chapter! Basically Nigella has the whole Christmas covered - this will certainly be one of the front runners in my arsenal for dealing with the Christmas season. There is a comprehensive list of suppliers, and, as another reviewer stated, many of the recipes are applicable for other (mainly wintery!) times of the year.

Recipes include:

Poinsettia (A cocktail containing Proscecco, Cointreau/Grand Marnier or triple Sec and Cranberry juice)
Chilli Cheese Crostini
Eggnog Syllabub
Pumpkin and Goat's Cheese Lasagne
Prodigious Pavlova (passion fruit, raspberries and lychees)
Boston Baked Beans
Lamb and Date Tagine
Spinach and Bacon Salad
Festive Couscous
Spruced-up Vanilla Cake with Rhubarb and Strawberry Compote
Spiced and Superjuicy Roast Turkey with Allspice Gravy
My Mother's Bread Sauce
Panettone and Italian Sausage Stuffing
Beetroot/Butternut Orzotto (risotto basically)
Turkey Pilaff
Roast Rib of Beef with Port and Stilton and Gravy
Rolled Stuffed Loin of Pork with Rubied Gravy
Yule Log
Panforte
Pecan-Plus Pie
Gold-Dust Cookies
Pomegranate Vodka
Christmas Chutney
Triple Cheese and Onion Strata
Espresso Martini
Hot Honeyed Vodka
Cuban Cure Black Bean Soup
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50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too many recycled recipes, 22 Dec 2008
By 
I've got quite a few of the Nigella books and borrowed this book in the run up to Christmas to see if it's worth buying. For me, it's definitely not. Most of the recipes have appeared in earlier Nigella books, and it's not worth shelling out for something I've already got.

The book is beautifully presented and I'm sure it would be useful if you needed one cookbook for Christmas. However, I'd think twice about buying this and get a copy of Feast instead, as it's much better value. Most of the recipes here appear in Feast, and Feast also includes chapters on Easter, weddings and various other festive occasions. Feast is a lot more useful and costs about the same.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Right book, wrong country!, 25 Nov 2010
By 
I was really excited to be getting this book of Christmas recipes. But, when it arrived I realised quickly that it was written for the American market. Measurements and ingredients are in US terms. No good to me!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LIMITED EDITION, ONLY 1000 released - SIGNED COPY IN SLIPCASE, 25 Oct 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Nigella Christmas (Hardcover)
Presented in a sealed pack, this classy 2008 slip-cased version measures in around 24.5 cm x 28.5 cm x 3.25 cm.
Representing the festive colour scheme throughout the book, the slipcase is in dark green with the simple embellishment of some silvery snowflakes and rather than a cover picture of the Domestic Goddess, the book has a glossy red plain cover with the title in block silver lettering.

The signing is simply 'Nigella Lawson' and is in thick black pen, below the typing:

This edition of NIGELLA CHRISTMAS, signed by the author, is limited to 1000 copies and indicates on each

'..../1000' (with the relevant copy number shown on the dotted line)

Beyond the covers, the contents are the same as the regular title, Nigella Christmas: Food, Family, Friends, Festivities, which opens with an interesting statement:

'I'll be honest - I never thought I'd write a Christmas book......but then, not so long ago: I never actually thought I'd become a food editor. I hadn't rejected either idea, it just never occurred to me. That's how life works, and so much the better for it. I accept - with gratitude - that what makes one happiest cannot be planned. This is not to say that I have anything against Christmas. Far from it: almost every book I have written has a chapter on Christmas. I wallow in it.
I relish it......'

And this opening paragraph goes on to hint that there are a number of recipes that appear in other 'Nigella' publications, albeit with the occasional 'tweak', e.g.:

♦ Christmas Rocky Road:

It is not that I felt my usual 'Rocky Road Crunch Bars' needed any improvement (though fiddling with recipes is one of life's pleasures) but I thought they would benefit from some seasonal adjustment.'
So, out go the 'Rich Tea' biscuits and in comes some festive ingredients and embellishment..........'

Nigella does also openly admit and go on to defend any alleged duplication, e.g.:

♦ Ed's Victorious Turkey Hash

This turkey hash recipe, given to me by my friend and agent, Ed Victor, and in charmingly bossy letter form, has been a recurring feature in my books. Why drop it now of all times? Not least, of course, because it is a real winner.........'

Twixt the covers are 277 high quality shiny pages, split over chapters:

(1) The more the merrier: cocktails, canapés and manageable mass catering
(2) Seasonal support: soups, salads, sauces and serve-later sides
(3) Come on over ......stress-free suppers
(4) The main event
(5) Joy to the world: Christmas baking and sweet treats
(6) All wrapped up: edible presents and party preserves
(7) A Christmas brunch for 6-8
(8) A Bevy of hot drinks
(9) Dr. Lawson prescribes

sandwiched between an introduction and a full index, all wrapped up with a festive green ribbon marker to keep your place.
A useful page of stockists with website addresses is also included, current at date of publication.

Nigella also shares a number of her menus including:

~ 'An Easy Elegant Dinner for 8', consisting of:

♦ Effortless Home-Cured Pork
♦ Apple and Onion Gravy
♦ Tiramisu Layer Cake

~ 'A Seductively Simple Supper for 6', consisting of:

♦ Party Poussins
♦ Festive Couscous (nick-named 'pous-pous with couscous', in the Lawson household!)
♦ Chestnut Chocolate Pots

~ 'My Christmas Eve Supper for 10-12', consisting of:

♦ Ginger-glazed Ham
♦ Macaroni Cheese Deluxe
♦ Spruced-up Vanilla Cake
♦ Rhubarb and Strawberry Compote

Getting back to 'The Main Event' - Nigella's 'Traditional Christmas Lunch Menu', for 10-16, is easily identified by the red-bordered pages from page 105-169 and is certainly comprehensive including an 'At-a-Glance Christmas Lunch Countdown', an itemised 'Christmas Day' agenda, a guide for how long to cook the turkey, plus some alternative roast dinner options.

Also, you can find a VEGETARIAN selection under the section title:

~ 'You Shall Go To the Ball: The Vegetarian Option Takes Centre Stage', which includes a step-by-step photographic shoot for:
♦ Roast Stuffed Pumpkin with Gingery Tomato Sauce.

For after the 'Big Day', there are some useful different ideas for those inevitable 'Turkey Leftovers'.

'The Main Event' section precedes the 'Joy to the World', which includes recipes for a

♦ Traditional Christmas Cake, and ideas for icing/topping it, along with alternative cake recipes.

Each chapter opens with typical Nigella chatter, as does each recipe, e.g.:

♦ Santa's Little Helper, a potent combination of:

~ 1 part Brandy
~ ½ part Amaretto
~ ½ part Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Triple sec.....'
oh...and some optional ice cubes!

'I'm not even going to broach the possibility of a pitcher of this; it would be irresponsible in the extreme. But it's probably just what you need on Christmas Eve, when you've got to fill the stockings, wrap the presents, get out the Christmas china and do everything else on your overburdened plate.

Bottoms up!'

The recipes are clearly laid out with an upper case title, the list of ingredients, an easy-to-follow method, the number of servings and.... if applicable...general notes, including advice on accompaniments, and/or a 'Make Ahead Tip'/'Freeze Ahead Tip'.

A good balance of superb vibrant colour photography throughout, from Lis Parsons, including a fair number of the 'Domestic Goddess' herself!

A small taste of the other recipes contained within:

* Amaretto Sour
* Crab Crostini
* Smoked Salmon Soda Breads
* Party Parma Ham Bundles
* Drunken Devils on Horseback
* Aromatic Christmas Ham
* Pumpkin & Goat's Cheese Lasagne
* Christmas Coleslaw
* Chestnut Soup with Bacon Crumbles
* Christmas Salad
* Lamb & Date Tagine
* Bourbon-glazed Ribs
* Gleaming Maple Cheesecake
* Parsleyed Fish Gratin
* Spinach & Bacon Salad
* Girdlebuster Pie
* Yule Log
* Edible Christmas Tree Decorations
* Christmas Cupcakes
* Winter-spiced Vodka
* Mulled Cider
* Christmas Puddini Bonbons

not forgetting:

♦ Chocolate Puddings for Christmas Pudding haters with Hot Chocolate Sauce.
A great recipe for any time of the year, and not just for Christmas!

'Sometimes, it makes sense to use one's obsessions to advantage. I know that most people don't have trivial light-bulb moments when the notion pops into an already food-filled head to make a stuffing in which crumbled gingerbread cake replaces breadcrumbs, but that's unfathomably, how my mind works...'

What a gem!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The build up to Christmas has begun!, 1 Jan 2010
By 
Pompom (Devon) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Nigella Christmas (Hardcover)
Nigella Lawson writes a good recipe. And here she has also created a gorgeous christmas cookbook. The whole book is evocative of the season - I can almost smell the aromas..... Of course the book contains the basics - Christmas dinner, christmas cake and christmas puddding. But then Nigella plunges off in a number of different directions; chapters include: The More the Merrier (Cocktails, Canapes and Manageable Mass Catering), Seasonal Support (Soups, Salad, Sauces and Serve-later Sides), Come On Over.... (Stress-Free Suppers), The Main Event (this section is red edged so easy to find in the centre of the book), Joy to the World (Christmas Baking and Sweet Treats), All Wrapped Up (Edible Presents and Party Preserves), A Christmas Brunch for 6-8, A Bevy of Hot Drinks, Dr Lawson Prescribes (Let Food be your medicine....). Punctuated throughout with gorgeous photos - it's a delight just to flick through. I'm certainly thinking on moving away from traditional turkey for christmas dinner after reading the Main Event chapter! Basically Nigella has the whole Christmas covered - this will certainly be one of the front runners in my arsenal for dealing with the Christmas season. There is a comprehensive list of suppliers, and, as another reviewer stated, many of the recipes are applicable for other (mainly wintery!) times of the year.

Recipes include:

Poinsettia (A cocktail containing Proscecco, Cointreau/Grand Marnier or triple Sec and Cranberry juice)
Chilli Cheese Crostini
Eggnog Syllabub
Pumpkin and Goat's Cheese Lasagne
Prodigious Pavlova (passion fruit, raspberries and lychees)
Boston Baked Beans
Lamb and Date Tagine
Spinach and Bacon Salad
Festive Couscous
Spruced-up Vanilla Cake with Rhubarb and Strawberry Compote
Spiced and Superjuicy Roast Turkey with Allspice Gravy
My Mother's Bread Sauce
Panettone and Italian Sausage Stuffing
Beetroot/Butternut Orzotto (risotto basically)
Turkey Pilaff
Roast Rib of Beef with Port and Stilton and Gravy
Rolled Stuffed Loin of Pork with Rubied Gravy
Yule Log
Panforte
Pecan-Plus Pie
Gold-Dust Cookies
Pomegranate Vodka
Christmas Chutney
Triple Cheese and Onion Strata
Espresso Martini
Hot Honeyed Vodka
Cuban Cure Black Bean Soup
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent collection from Nigella, 20 Dec 2014
By 
My wife and I have the perfect division of labour when it comes to entertaining family and friends at Christmas these days. She buys the recipe books, selects the dishes and I do the shopping, the cooking, some of the eating and all of the the washing up.

This was one of the books that she bought for me this year.

I have always liked Nigella's style and this book is another first class addition to the library. Some of the rarer ingredients may be a bit difficult to find outside of the larger cities, but I now buy a lot of the herbs, spices and other difficult to find consumables from Amazon, most are next day delivery...excellent.

If you are looking for Christmas dinner party ideas this is a good place to start this year.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nigella does it again, 19 Nov 2008
This book enters without faltering into the Nigella Classics. I feared it might be a rush, flimsy job, like Forever Summer, or the slightly disappointing Nigella Bites. But I needn't have - this is a beautifully put together (you sort of want to sit there and stroke it) brilliantly written (I read mine cover to cover like a novel, a bit tragic, but there you go) and, needless to say, the essential thing, full of recipes and menus that make you feel crazily Christmassy, and greedy.

The red centre pages, marking the actual Christmas Day menu, are a well though out touch. Nigella is typically luscious and bosomy looking, I just want her to come and cook my Christmas lunch for me. Not least because I am, in an awestruck way, a bit terrified of her Christmas menu. It is so all-encompassing and grand and generous, that I feel daunted by even making the bread sauce - there's just so much to do! She helps the pathetic like me by putting in a very authoritative cooking schedule. But, still.

I'm going to let myself in gently by making goats cheese and pumpkin lasagne this weekend, followed by maple glazed cheesecake. How totally delicious.

Bravo Nigella! Please come and live with me.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Have for any Christmas, 4 Oct 2009
By 
James Grant (Cardiff, Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Nigella Christmas: Food, Family, Friends, Festivities
This is a great book that in my opinion will never go out of date...
My mum had a copy of this last year, and I volunteered myself to cook the christmas dinner for about 14 people in the end... and only spent probably a few hours flicking thru this book. It has everything you'd need for all ages of guests over the christmas period. If you want to stay traditional, then fine, this book covers it too... but it's tradition with a twist that really works. It's also packed full of modern ideas and changes to meal ideas.

2 great things about this book:
1. Full of colour and inspiration - I spent nearly the same amount of time getting ideas on how to decorate my table as I did using the cooking guides from this book
2. One amazingly handy feature of this book (which i have yet to really find with any other authors, which is strange) is that all of the items used in the book are listed online at the back of the book - so where to buy the silver balls, the edible glitter, the bakeware and the cake tins etc etc - so if you really want to splash out and go as creative as nigella, all the internet sites she uses to get her stuff you can visit too.

A must-have for christmas, I dont normally write reviews, but I really enjoyed this book and the experiences it gave me cooking - My mum and dad did raise a few eyebrows when I soaked the entire turkey in a full basin of water overnight, stuffed with oranges and onions and bits and pieces, but it was one of the most successful meals in my opinion.

Nigella doesnt hold back on any ingredients - if you are counting calories then dont bother - but if you want a proper Christmas how it should be - go fill your kitchen with stuff out of this book, your family and guests will not be disappointed.

Nigella Christmas: Food, Family, Friends, Festivities
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Uninteresting recipies, 26 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Nice recipie ideas but on christmas day some of the food just tasted better using my own techniques and to be honest didnt really like some of her recipies. They tasted a bit odd. Also not much vegetarian food and it just felt a little repetitive as other christmas cookery books. Nothing special here.
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