Nigella: You knew it would come to this sooner or later

Love her or hate her, Miss Lawson is for many the original short-cut taking, taste-as-you-go then eat-with-abandon kitchen slattern, and for that alone I will always be a fan. I stumbled upon Nigella Bites in 2001 and loved the show’s clever editing, Nigella’s girlfriend-y chatter and her refreshingly relaxed approach to both cooking and eating.

Over the years, however, as the domestic goddess juggernaut picked up steam, I began to feel a creeping unease, and by the time we got to Nigella Express in 2007, the experience of watching her cook had begun to make me squirm, and not in a good way. With adjectives multiplying like randy bunnies and the chatter taking on a, how shall I say, slightly overheated feel, the experience became more than I could reasonably endure, at least without a partner.

Witness the foreplay for a chocolate raspberry pavlova recipe:

“You just cannot beat a pav in summer, and in particular this dark beauty. The crisp and chewy chocolate meringue base, rich in cocoa and beaded nuggets of chopped plain chocolate, provides a sombre, almost purple-brown layer beneath the fat whiteness of the cream and matt, glowering crimson raspberries on top: it is a killer combination.”

Ooh, sorry. I just slid off the glistening seat of my rigid ebony desk chair, the fat whiteness of my pale, billowing ass tumbling with a surprising, yet somehow satisfying, plop onto the plush, mellow lusciousness of the ruby and citron carpet below.

Oh God, it’s happening again and all I’ve been looking at are YouTube videos.

My recommendation: Like that of the Rolling Stones, Nigella’s early work in both print and video is by far the best. Her cookbooks are worth buying, since most include several very good recipes and some great tips, for instance, when she suggests roasting beets rather than boiling them or serving deep fat fried Mars bars to your girlfriends, and don’t even think of telling me this does not appeal. If it doesn’t, you’re either hanging with the wrong crowd or need to get to Walmart more often, or both.

From Nigella Bites: Gingery-hot duck salad (because I find duck fat repulsive, I peel it off, melt a little in the pan to cook the duck, then chuck it as soon as humanly possible – up to you) and Vietnamese chicken and mint salad are fabulous, as is the recipe for Italian sausages and lentils.

In Forever Summer I like the cold beet soup. The slow cooked lemon garlic chicken is a real winner, too. The method is foolproof for producing meat that slides off the bone, though I usually omit the lemon and brush on barbecue sauce before the final high heat cooking time. Sticky, sweet and salty? You bet. That’s just the way I roll, but you may prefer the original.

Nigella and I part ways on the issue of mixing red and green ingredients in salads — I’m all for it, and I cannot urge you strongly enough to avoid the carrot and peanut salad; I tried it during my early, true-believer phase and it’s as delicious as it sounds. And let’s not even get into the watermelon, olive and feta salad. Even at the height of my fanaticism, I never even considered that one, no matter how convincing her argument in favor. Ugh.

And what is pavolva anyway?

About WSW

Writer, wife, mother. Toiler in the bottomless, black, soul-sucking coal mine of domestic life. Thank God for the portable bar.

Posted on September 28, 2011, in Cooking, TV Cooks and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Hi KS, pavlova is a who not a what. Irena Pavlova was a prima ballerina. As for Nigella, perfect eye candy. Skin tight slacks and top in stiletto heels. The accent doesn’t hurt. There’s a French lady who’s on Cooking Channel I fancy her because she’s a bit more earthy and goes out to mow the lawn while the entrée is in the oven. I can’t keep my mind out of the kitchen.

  2. Reblogged this on Kitchen Slattern and commented:

    Another oldie but goodie. Bear with me folks. I’m relocating, and moving house is not as easy as it used to be.

  3. Ms. Slattern: if you haven’t tried Nigella’s ‘Best Evah Chocolate Pound Cake,’ run, don’t walk. As they say in the happiest place on Earth — this cake is the shitz. You can add to it — whipped cream and strawberries — or not. Trust me.

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