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Nigella Lawson is 51 … and still as fit as a butcher’s dog … I’d give my right arm for one night in bed with her … it’s a minor compulsion, I can deal with it if I want to …
There is a classic Nigella moment when she says “I like a bit of brutality in the kitchen” with that gleam in her eye and she leans onto a raw, whole chicken to flatten it slightly to make it easier to cook. Food is about legacy and passing recipes on, and along with this, recipes, traits or style are passed on. She amuses everyone with a story of a woman who made a pot roast and to start she would cut off both ends of the pot roast. When asked why she did this she answered that it was what her own mother had always done so she did it. When they asked her mother why she had done it she said that that was her mother had done. When they asked the grandmother why she had done it she said that the reason why she did it was because her pot was too small to fit the pot roast!
After browning the chicken, she places it in a pot to boil along with celery, and carrots, which brings us to carrot coins. “I find circles of carrots make me depressed,” she says, citing school meals with carrot circles as the possible cause. “But by all means if carrots don’t make you depressed, use them … If you had to be an expert to cook, the human race wouldn’t exist.”
(Source: Business Spectator)
She is the best known female food personality in the world today. The mere mention of her name can cause people to recall, accurately, what she sounds like, how she smiles, and, of course, how she cooks.
You might think it could be unnerving being Queen of Gastroporn Nigella Lawson and constantly having your sensual charms – and curves – discussed alongside your body of work. But Lawson says that she can’t control how people perceive her and that ”it’s wrong to get into a state about it”.
She says the suggestion that the way she presents herself in front of the television is carefully thought about is simply false. ”I don’t construct a personality, but I certainly think the personality that is ascribed to me is not my personality,” she says. ”That’s a projection of other people, but also to do with the particular, strange force television has.”
Her trademark lascivious tone, for example, is unintentional. ”When I am talking to camera … I mean, I love my crew and I have had them forever so I am very very close to them … I know that I am quite an intense person and I know that I am being quite intimate. To me, I am not being remotely coquettish.”
Men and their egos are often the source of this misinterpretation, she suggests. ”One of the things I find quite endearing about men is that they do seem to have a certain sort of confidence and they sort of think anyone is flirting with them.”
Lawson is in Australia for the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, of which she is the star attraction.
Here to represent a key festival theme, Women of the Kitchen, Lawson reflects on the women who inspired her. ”My mother was quite spontaneous, quite impatient, and really knew how to trust her own palate. I think people really underestimate how important that is,” she says. ”Maybe because cooking has been, in the large part, taken over by professionals, I think technique has been overstressed and actually what cooking is, is about trusting your instincts and about trusting your palate to know what tastes good.”
After graduating from Oxford University, Lawson worked as a literary journalist and opinion page columnist before releasing her first cookbook, How to Eat, which became a bestseller. Her first television series, Nigella Bites, became an incredible success and soon she was known as a woman who loves food and doesn’t torment herself dieting.
”I am always thinking about what my eating opportunities are, and what I can manage to get in,” she says.
(Source: Sydney Morning Herald)
Recipe taken from Nigella Christmas by Queen of Gastroporn Nigella Lawson (Chatto & Windus, £25)
This involves a simple, but amply satisfying procedure. In advance, as soon as you get your bird home, remove any trussing, take out the giblets and stash them separately in the fridge. Before putting the turkey in the fridge, wash the inside of the bird with cold running water. Drain well and blot dry with kitchen towels.
The important thing is that you take your bird out of the fridge a good hour before you want to start cooking it, so that it’s at room temperature before you begin. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Now comes the bosomy bit. You take your turkey and, using your fingers, wiggle some space between the skin and breast of the bird, being careful not to tear the skin. (Mind you, turkey skin is so tough, you’d probably need talons to rupture it.) Into this space you’ve made, squeeze good sausage meat, or the contents of your favourite butcher’s sausages (900g of either should be enough for a 5.5kg turkey), pushing, pressing and coaxing so that it covers the whole breast.
Then, from on top of the skin, mould it a little with your hand so that the breast is voluptuously but smoothly bulging. Secure the flaps of skin over the cavity with a metal skewer so that the sausage meat doesn’t escape during cooking.
The skin really crisps up as this turkey roasts, and the sausage meat, which drips down into the breast as it cooks, keeps the meat from drying out. To ensure the turkey doesn’t brown too rapidly, cover it loosely with a sheet of buttered foil until halfway through the cooking time about 2 hours 40 minutes total for a 5.5kg bird with its sausagey faux-bosom). You could then dispense with the chipolatas (or stuffing if you can live without it), so this is a good way of cutting down on dishes to prepare, without making huge sacrifices.
(Taken from Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home by Nigella Lawson)
This is perhaps one of the most useful puddings you can have in your repertoire. Not that it is the job of a pudding to be useful: a pudding exists merely to delight. Still, dinner does need to be made, even when there’s precious little time for it and that should be a delight, too.
So here’s the deal: there is pitifully little work to be done to make this berry-dazzler of a tart, and enormous pleasure to be derived from its consumption.
All you do is bash a few biscuits a day or so in advance and make the base – getting one course out of the way early is my way of managing – then stir lemon curd and cream cheese together, and use this cream to line the crumb-covered tart tin. I use shop-bought lemon curd here, but even if it comes out of the jar, it must be of good quality. And when it is whipped into the cream cheese, that cream cheese must be at room temperature, as should the lemon curd in its jar. The combination produces a layer of what tastes like cheesecake cream: light, lemony, luscious.
I used to put the berries on top of the cream pretty much last-minute, but then I found that a leftover wedge, after the party, looked inviting after being in the fridge overnight, and so I now finish assembling the tart ahead of time. But if you prefer to add the fruit nearer to serving, I completely understand. Don’t feel you must obey the fruit orders too literally: any mixture of berries (or indeed other fruit) would do, and you could well use a smaller amount and top the tart less extravagantly.
375g digestive biscuits
75g soft unsalted butter
2 x 200g packets cream cheese, at room temperature
1 x 240g jar lemon curd, at room temperature
125g redcurrants or pomegranate seeds
125g small strawberries
Process the biscuits and the butter to a sandy rubble and press into the sides and bottom of a deep-sided fluted tart tin. Place in the freezer (or fridge if that is not possible) for 10-15 minutes.
In a clean processor bowl, process the cream cheese and lemon curd (or just mix by hand) and spread into the bottom of the chilled tart tin, covering the base evenly.
Arrange the fruit gently (so it doesn’t sink in too much) on top of the lemony cream cheese in a decorative manner (see right), leaving some of the strawberries unhulled, with their picturesque stalks attached.
Place the tart in the fridge, preferably overnight, though for at least 4 hours. It does need to get properly cold in order to set enough for the tart to be unsprung and sliced easily.
(Yorkshire Evening Post)
Kitchen Goddess Nigella Lawson visited Leeds to sign copies of her latest cookery book.
The smouldering TV star of effortless cooking – who has written for a number of newspapers and magazines, and has launched a successful cookware range – was at Asda House.
Supermarket staff were invited to meet Nigella and buy a signed copy of Kitchen: Recipes From the Heart of the Home, with 50p from every sale donated to the Tickled Pink Campaign for Breast Cancer Care.
The Queen of Gastroporn writes in her new book Kitchen:
There are a few meals I can say I’m making that will make my children excited (or pretend to be), and this is one of them.
Alongside there must be ‘pie insides’ (which is what my daughter has always called leeks in white sauce) and for ultimate gratification, roast potatoes. Although I usually use goose fat for roast potatoes, I feel the pork belly allows, indeed encourages, the substitution of lard. I’m not convinced that with all that fabulous crackling you do need roasties as well, but I like to provide what makes people happy. I actually prefer noodles or a bowl of plain, steamed brown basmati rice, and urge you to consider either; and I love to sprinkle a little rice vinegar on my own plate of pork as I eat.
This is another of those recipes that you can get done in advance and then have the afternoon off, unworried. I have advised an overnight marinade, but if I’m making this (as I tend to) for Sunday supper, I often prepare it in the morning and leave it in the fridge loosely covered with baking parchment, or midday-ish and leave it uncovered in a cold place (but not the fridge) for a few hours.
1.75kg pork belly, rind scored
4 x 15ml tablespoons tahini
4 x 15ml tablespoons soy sauce
juice 1 lemon
juice 1 lime
Get out a shallow dish in which the scored pork will fit snugly and in it whisk together the tahini, soy sauce, lemon and lime juice.
Sit the pork on top, skin-side up. You should find the marinade covers the underside and most of the sides, but doesn’t touch the rind: that’s what you want.
Leave the pork in the fridge to marinate overnight, covered with foil, and then take out to return to room temperature before it goes into the oven. Preheat the oven to 150°C.
Get out a shallow roasting tin and line with foil.
Transfer the pork to the roasting tin and cook it uncovered for 3½ hours, then turn the oven up to 250°C and cook for a further ½ hour to let the skin crisp to crunchy burnished perfection.