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Customer Review

185 of 195 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm such a sucker for Nigella, 3 Oct. 2008
This review is from: Nigella Christmas: Food, Family, Friends, Festivities (Hardcover)
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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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 28 Oct 2008 11:15:59 GMT
BroDisBoDia says:
Sorry, but I couldn't let you pass through life without giving the chocolate christmas cake a chance. It's the best recipe for Christmas cake I have EVER eaten.

Posted on 28 Oct 2008 17:56:13 GMT
But chocolate with MARZIPAN? I can't stand the idea of a christmas cake without marzipan. Really?

Posted on 23 Nov 2008 21:21:48 GMT
Maybe Lizzie says:
Emma, your prose was a delight to read. Thanks for a literate and fun review.

Posted on 24 Nov 2008 19:07:29 GMT
D. M. McKain says:
is there a mistake in the recipe for butternut orzotto? It says to add the barley to the squash - but it makes for sense if you add to the onion. Or am I just too used to making risotto?

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Dec 2008 12:44:04 GMT
T. Lynaugh says:
i went to a booksigning for this book and Nigella turned to this recipe and fixed the mistake. It should be and the barley to the onion.

Posted on 6 Dec 2009 13:32:56 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 19 Feb 2010 11:08:35 GMT]

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Dec 2009 13:18:49 GMT
I think people really differ about what they think five stars actually mean. I don't review every book I read, I tend to prefer to write about something I've really enjoyed, so I am quite likely to give the book five stars. (On the other hand my backlist of reviews will show that I'm quite happy not to give books 5 stars too).

However, I think it's very unhelpful to write a five star review without any critical content. Apart from anything else, it makes me suspicious of the reviewer's motives; so I always try to point out some things which other readers might not like. And with Nigella, whatever my own reservations, I still think it is a beautiful, glossy, delicious book, full of tasty things, which deserves five stars.

PS When I was talking about taking the Delia book to the supermarket, I meant the old Christmas book which is small format - the new Delia book only came out a few weeks ago, and this review is from last year. (I like to be able to take the actual book to the supermarket in case some ingredients have run out, then I can check the recipe itself rather than just having a shopping list. So no insult to Nigella or Delia themselves intended!)

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Dec 2009 19:55:21 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 19 Feb 2010 11:08:28 GMT]

Posted on 4 Oct 2012 11:49:35 BDT
jaxbee says:
Just had to say, even though I'm a good three years too late, that review made me laugh out loud! Brilliantly written and informative, too. As there are lots of repeat recipes however, I think it might give the book a miss as I do have a nice supply of Nigella productions already.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Oct 2012 11:51:28 BDT
jaxbee says:
I agree. If I don't review a book it means 1. I'm swamped or 2. it didn't quite do it for me. I think that's only fair.
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