Yup it’s time for another round of the Cookbook Book Club that I take part in around once a month with Jan from Family Bites and Jenn (from Chocolate Shavings). After last month’s début with #dinnerwithMarcella, we decided on another grande dame of the kitchen for this month’s author: Nigella Lawson. Little could we know the week before our dinner, a whole slew of Nigella news hit the airwaves and Internet (see here for an interesting discussion on how despite drug allegations amongst others, Nigella will probably survive this, at least in terms of her professional image and brand) so it was definitely a topical choice of author.
At the end of the day, though, we barely talked about the Nigella “news” at all, instead, discussing her recipes and the books we had chosen them from – this time we all chose a different Nigella book – so we had dishes from Nigella Kitchen, Nigella Express and How to Eat. One of the things we all agreed on was the fact that Nigella’s food is just so “do-able” and therein lies her popularity and possibly, one reason she was one of the first true celebrity chefs (and still one of my favourites!). Nothing’s too fussy, nothing appears complicated and everything is made with ingredients you recognize.
Our entrée (starter for those of you from North America) was a beautiful Butternut Squash salad with Arugula and Pine Nuts that Jenn brought. The recipe is from Nigella Kitchen but you can also find the recipe online here.
Jan, who hosted this time, provided the main course and really outdid herself with Nigella’s Beef Stew with Anchovies and Thyme from How to Eat (you can get the recipe online here)
Served, per Nigella’s suggestion, with bread and butter, mashed potatoes and cornichons, this was outstanding. Simple, comforting, but so very very tasty and a GREAT meal to share with friends. Note: we aren’t really sure why Nigella wants the carrots cut into matchsticks. We all prefer disks of carrot in our stew
For the dessert, I needed something easy and tasty that I could prepare in under an hour. (I’d been out every night the week before this dinner and had spend most of the day teaching a macaron class so I literally had 90 minutes to turn around and be out the door with my dessert!). Enter, Nigella Express. And these gooey flourless chocolate brownies. You can find the recipe online here. You’re welcome.
Whilst we didn’t discuss our dishes at all prior to the evening, we felt our meal was very cohesive – a nod to Nigella’s style of food being consistent across her books. Our choices went so well together, we were chuffed!
We’re taking a little bit of a longer break between dinners due to the holidays (oh and Jan has a book deadline!) but we’ll be back in early February with #dinnerwithOttolenghi!
CANADIAN readers: Win a copy of the Butter Baked Goods cookbook. Ends December 11th 2013 at 6pm EST. Enter here.
WORLDWIDE giveaway: Enter to win one of The Cookbook Store’s top cookbook picks for 2013! Ends December 9th 2013 at 6pm EST. Enter here.