Monday, January 10, 2011

Cookbook Corner: Nigella Kitchen

In our family, there are several absolutes.  When it comes to cookbooks, if there's a new book out by Ina Garten, our mom absolutely must have it.  It there's something from Madhur Jaffrey, it's a safe bet for Greta.  For me, whenever there's a new book from Nigella Lawson, I'm probably going to get my paws on it.  My husband understands this, so I was not surprised when he gave me Nigella Kitchen: Recipes for the Heart and Home for Christmas.

This book, like most books from Lawson, begs to be read.  You really need to give yourself time to sit down and enjoy Nigella's overly word, conversational style.  She not only gives you recipes, she also gives you plenty of ideas and thoughts about food, cooking and life.

What to Expect: This book is divided up into several different parts, as follows:
  • Part I: Kitchen Quandaries (chapters include recipes for every day cooking; quick cooking; easy to make meals; and pantry suppers).
  • Part II: Kitchen Comforts (chapters include chicken recipes; meals that require more time and effort; and cozy dinners)
The book also includes Nigella's thoughts on kitchen equipment, tips and shortcuts.

I really like this cookbook--there are plenty of pretty pictures and recipes that I want to try or that might inspire me to make something I wouldn't have. 

Best Recipes: Here are my top five:
  • Turkey Meatballs in Tomato Sauce (pg. 44)
  • African Drumsticks (pg. 46)
  • Speedy Scallopine with Rapid Roastini (pg. 68)
  • Buttermilk Scones (pg. 283)
  • Raspberry Almond Bars (pg. 298)
I've already made two recipes from this book (Peanut Butter Hummus and Chocolate Banana Muffins)--both of which will appear on the blog later this week!

Complaints: As much as I like this book, I don't think it's her best (How to Eat and How to be a Domestic Goddess are both killer books!).  My biggest complaints are:
  • Organization of recipes: Instead of all the baking recipes being in one area, they're dispersed throughout the book--as are all the recipes.  If you want a specific chicken recipe, you better use the index at the back to find it!
  • The book itself is large and it doesn't like to lie flat open.  I need to pull a can out of my pantry to act as a weight to keep the book from flopping closed.
Deliciousness scale: 4 spoonfuls of yum out of 5.

Details: This review is based on the 2010 edition of Nigella Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home; ISBN 978-1401323950

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