Nigella is a giant amongst cookery book writers, while her late-night visits to the fridge for chocolate cake (in obligatory silky nightgown) are one of the most enduring and distinctive food television moments of all time. Delia has nothing on her.
Her latest book, At My Table, takes home cooking as its subject, and is filled with everyday recipes that make you want to hole up in the kitchen and invite your whole family round to eat, drink and fall asleep on the sofa together.
So, here’s what we think of it…
The book: At My Table by Nigella Lawson
Who will love it? Everyone! How can you dislike Nigella? The woman is a culinary legend, her books are fully deserving of their cult status, and her food is the kind that feeds you pure love, with added lashings of deliciousness. And she’s not afraid of simplicity, or of upsetting people. (Remember that time she shared a recipe that involved tortilla wraps spread with hummus, topped with chips from the chip shop?)
What is it trying to get us cooking? There’s no mandate or mission here, this is a book just dedicated to celebrating home cooking. It’s not trying to get us to eat more healthily, it’s not just puddings or just vegetables, instead it’s structured almost like a stream of consciousness, one recipe flowing into another. There are no chapters, so as you flick through, you can move from steak to meringue to ice cream without being halted. It would be disorienting if the loose structure wasn’t strangely comforting.
And the recipes? From absolute classics (sticky toffee pudding, lamb shanks, red cabbage with cranberries), to decadent puds (sunken chocolate amaretto cake) and straightforward favourites (garlic and Parmesan mash, Cumberland gravy), you’ll want to grab an apron and start cooking.
How easy is it? Nigella is at pains to point out she is technically no more a professional than any other home cook – meaning, whether the recipes only have a few steps to them or many, the actual skill-level required to get through them really isn’t very high.
The best recipe is… the coconut snowball cake, and not just because it sounds like something out of a children’s book. It’s got raspberry jam, a hint of lime, soft coconutty sponges and a thick, whipped icing you’ll want to bathe in.
The recipe we’re least likely to try is… the devilled eggs. Yeah, yeah, they’re making a kitschy retro comeback, but we’re still not convinced.
The recipe we’re most likely to post pictures of on Instagram is… the roast red chicory with dry vermouth – we’d totally do a split screen of the maroon-edged spears before and after they’ve hit the heat of the oven. They’re sprinkled with thyme too, for added Insta-friendly whimsy.
Usability? Solid. The layout is a bit messy when it comes to the actual recipes, and the font a touch small (and an off-putting rust colour), but the recipe steps are uncomplicated and easy to follow.
Overall rating: 8/10
At My Table by Nigella Lawson is published by Chatto & Windus, priced £26. Available now.