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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 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 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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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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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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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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on 9 October 2007
A misssed opportunity. I think that this book demonstrates Nigella's complete lack of awareness of the pressure of most people's daily and working lives. Many of the recipies are lovely and probably very time saving if you happen to live in palatial surroundings in central London and are married to one of the richest men in the UK. If however like me you are staggering through daily life and the thought of entertaining people on a Wednesday night would make you reach for the machete then this is not the book for you. I feel that this book was a missed opportunity - there are plenty of inspired time saving recipies out there (I know, I have nicked them all from my mother!). Nigella has made the mistake of assuming that her readers share her rarefied world and her budget - is it really helpful to suggest that you too can save time when providing a feast for friends by going to your local deli and spending hundreds of pounds? More emphasis on quick meals using store cupboard faithfuls would have made far more impact on my domestic routine.
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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 5 December 2007
If you found Nigella's latest TV series a little irritating ('I'm just as busy and stressed as you even though my husband's a multi-millionaire') then you could be forgiven for thinking Nigella Express isn't up to the standard of her other books. Wrong! Nigella may have forgotten that we all prefer her being unashamedly posh, languid and goddess-like on screen, but she hasn't forgotten how to write brilliant recipes.

What makes Nigella Express so good is that it has the potential to be in constant use in the kitchen. Apart from How to be a Domestic Goddess (which has tons of great baking and dessert recipes), Nigella's other books tend to be the sort that you dip into now and again (such as when you've got people for dinner or when you need a fix of food writing that makes you drool!) This book contains much more straightforward recipes with the same fabulous results and lends itself very well to mid-week meals.

Nigella is great at sumptuous feasts, flavoursome roasts and slow-cook dishes that taste divine, but they are often best tackled at weekends. What's great about Nigella Express is that the recipes can be made on a weeknight with little effort (and the food is proper!) or you could make them for more formal occasions and they would still be a hit. The recipe for Coq au Riesling requires minimal ingredients and is ideal for eating after work, but it would be perfectly acceptable at a dinner party or as a Sunday lunch dish (it's got a whole bottle of wine in it!). I recently went for a meal at a friend's house on a Saturday night and they served the delicious Lamb, Caramelized Onion and Olive Tagine. The Quick Chilli is really tasty (you put chorizo in it, which gives a lovely flavour) and makes a great family meal, but it could be made for any occasion where something spicy is called for and it wouldn't require the preparation that making a chilli from scratch usually demands.

I know lots of people who have found recipes in Nigella Express that they intend to make regularly. A friend has made the Chicken Cacciatora several times and my sister swears that the Sweetcorn Chowder is the best soup she's ever tasted!

The book is great for sweet recipes too. It's surprising how few cookery books have recipes for bananas, so the Banana Muffins are a really useful way to use ripe ones up. They really are quick to make (you use vegetable oil, so no weighing out butter and melting it) and are fab. The French Doughnut Toast is amazing (and nicer than stale shop-bought doughnuts). I'm dying to have an excuse to make the Ice-Cream Cake, which looks like it could be the best dessert ever, yet one of the simplest to make.

There's something for everyone in this book. Keen cooks and fans of Ms. Lawson will love being able to incorporate Nigella's culinary wisdom into more everyday meals and novices will find the recipes easy to follow yet classy enough impress others. This is a book that is destined NOT to sit around on your bookshelf.
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