Nigella Bites

Nigella Bites
Ah, Nigella Bites. If there was a moment this (and by this I mean the ludicrous acquisition of recipe books, the encyclopaedic knowledge of all terrestrial food TV, no matter how bad, and the cooking and photography of food for the very small and mostly anonymous little collective who follow this blog) all started, then it was the moment that I watched Nigella Lawson sandwich slices of mozzarella cheese in pieces of white, shop bought bread, fry it  and create something far far more than the sum of its parts, on TV. Mozzarella in Carozza, Nigella Bites, 2001.

Nigella divides, and although I am not as smitten with her as I once was, in those days, Nigella’s devotees were very devoted. I believe at this point, Nigella had already written two modern classics – How to Eat and How to be a Domestic Goddess, which were both tremendous critical and popular successes, and this was her first TV series and book to accompany. It is a well trodden path now, for Ms Lawson and her ilk – TV series, book, TV series, book, TV series, book, a perennial pension plan. This book though, despite being attached to a brilliant, and award-winning show, is no How to Eat.

There are 10 chapters in this book, each with a handful of recipes in each chapter:

  • All Day Breakfast
  • Comfort Food
  • TV Dinners
  • Party Girl
  • Rainy Days
  • Trashy
  • Legacy
  • Suppertime
  • Slow-cook Weekend
  • Temple Food

The recipes are all very tempting, with extremely easy to follow instructions and readily accessible ingredients. Highlights for me  include Ham in Coca-cola, Chocolate Cloud Cake, Salt & Pepper Squid, Bream with Anchovies and Thyme and Southern-Style Chicken. There is some beautiful, inspiring photography. Nigella makes you feel than nothing in this book is unachievable, if you can read of it and conceive of it, you can make it. And, as always with Nigella the real strength is in the writing – friendly, approachable, authoritative and understanding. Good company over the sticky toffee pudding.

But for an rrp of £20, what do I want? I know that hardback recipe books rarely sell at their list price – certainly not on amazon, but if I bought it there today at its price of £11 odd, it would still be quite a big investment. In truth, I am probably not smitten enough to believe this represents value for money and I am somebody that actually uses her recipe books. Yes, there are some lovely recipes – but there are recipes for mashed potato in here, there are a LOT of photographs, there are pages at the end of every chapter for your notes. Of course, all hardback food books are expensive these days, especially if they have a famous name attached so it’s all relative, really but I can’t help thinking there’s a fair bit of blank space here for my cash.

On balance, this is a fine book. Maybe it has its faults and maybe it shouldn’t be on any classics list (unlike the linked programme) but it is an enjoyable read and a reliable guide. Implied permission from an absolute fox to eat fried chicken and a trough of pasta, supplied free of charge.
Nigella Bites


Keith Meets Keith

Hello, Gastronauts!

I never watched this programme last night, in bed by 9 or so, I didn’t have the time or energy for Keith Allen, but I have always been fond of Keith Floyd’s work.  The first ‘celebrity chef’, a brilliant presenter who obviously cared about food and an amazing food writer. His series of ‘Floyd on America’ show how streets ahead in terms of talent and charisma of the Jamie Oliver’s of this world he was, even then. By the time I had settled down to watch it this afternoon, he was sadly dead.

keith floyd

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The Hairy Bikers’ Food Tour of Britain

Hairy Bikers, whats not to love?
hairy bikers

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Economy Gastronomy

economyLast night, as I settled down to my beans on toast (thats why there was no recipe btw, you don’t want me to tell you how to make beans on toast, do you?) I decided to treat myself to a bit of telly. Happily, the space usually filled between 8pm and 9pm with The Bill, Holby or Property programmes, none of which I can bear, has been joined by a new cookery show, Economy Gastronomy with the apparently talented Paul Merrett and Allegra McEvedy. I say apparently, because although I know they are very accomplished chefs, it is impossible to tell from this silly programme whether they have any talent about them at all. Taking a hapless  family who managed to spend £330 a week on food (I was expecting to see Lobster and Caviar and Fine Champagne, instead I saw Ready Made Desserts, Chicken & Crisps) and turn that into £210 average spend a week in Asda. I still think £210 is an incredible amount of money to spend on food a week-  I think I spend about £100 including booze and everything else.  Billed as ‘their system to save time and slash our food bills while eating better than we’ve ever done before’  (or housekeeping for Dummies) by the Beeb, I was very much looking forward to some new ways to save money at the shops whilst watching some new food porn. Sadly, this show did not show me how to eat better than I ever have done before, and really, in terms of money saving tips within this programme (I took notes, just for you) we were offered such gems as:

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