When I think of Nigella, I think of simple easy to follow recipes, a storyteller of food and someone who has the ultimate old school glamour look. So when the Great Bath Feast advertised an Evening with Nigella Lawson I knew I had to get a ticket! My neighbour and foodie fan Jen came along for the evening with me. I’ve been a fan of Nigella’s for some time and have her Kitchen cookbook (I ALWAYS make the beautifully simple butternut squash, pine nut and rocket salad and the Spanish Chicken tray bake is another dish I’ll turn to time and time again)
Doors opened at 7pm and Nigella would take to the stage at 8pm. I hadn’t managed to pre-collect our tickets from the shop so we had to queue for a while but were soon through the door. We decided to grab a drink before we found our seats, however after Jen treated me to a G&T, I spotted a sign saying no alcohol allowed in the forum so quickly had to chug it back!
We collected our Simply Nigella: Feel Good Food (*) books on the way to finding our seats – they had already been signed and there would be the opportunity to have them dedicated at the end of the evening.
Once in our seats, everyone was doing exactly the same – eagerly flicking through the book, talking with their friends and fellow Nigella fans on what they were going to cook first and what looked decidedly YUM!
The first 30 minutes of the evening was a proper “interview” and the second half involved some good old audience participation – a microphone was set up and we were asked to come forward with any questions we had which I thought was a lovely idea. There was one girl in particular that stood out – she had a stutter, but still went up to the microphone and asked her question. She received a huge round of applause afterwards.
The questions were really varied from “what would you cook for a group of friends that means you’re not in the kitchen all day / evening” to “do you agree on Jamie’s sugar tax” and “can you come to the university and help me and my flatmates learn how to cook”.
Nigella was just as fab in “real life” as she comes across on TV – she’s got such a beautiful eloquent way with words and when we were leaving, I heard someone say she describes the food she cooks as “poetic” and I completely agree.
So, the things we learnt about Nigella were:
- She’s absolutely not a chef – she’s a home cook and believes all her recipes must be simple, easy to follow and absolutely work without a host of kitchen gadgetry
- She believes Jamie Oliver has a persuasive argument on the sugar tax
- If you’re cooking for friends and don’t want to spend all evening in the kitchen rather than with your friends then always do a tray bake or a stew
- She doesn’t wear an apron in her own kitchen – if her clothes get covered, they go in the washing machine like everyone else’s does (this was an answer to a strange question around cooking / feminism from the interviewer which I found a little odd)
- She has no preference on whether she cooks just for one or for 10 although anything over 6 doesn’t make a difference
- She doesn’t really follow a recipe as such, just throws things together. If she likes what she’s made, she’ll give it another go but write down what she’s done in case it goes in a book – although if she can’t recreate something after 3 attempts then it’s shown the door
- She’s taught her children recipes that her Mother taught her when she was growing up and going off to university
- Her last meal would include (but not limited to…!) fennel salad, pasta with clams in white wine, garlic and chilli but not tomato, a cheese platter, roast potatoes, mash potatoes AND chips, lemon meringue pie – there were a few other things on the list that I fail to remember
- She believes that your cooking changes as your life changes and it becomes part of who you are, telling your story
- Nigel Slater is her food hero
- She doesn’t like the term “clean eating” – does it mean that anything other than this is “dirty”? She does think that some really good recipes and ideas have come out of this new “trend”. Everyone should have a good relationship with food and she never denies herself of something, if she wants a biscuit or a piece of cake, she’ll have it rather than go without and then binging on 20 helpings.
- Comfort food should be called discomfort food – don’t you turn to it when you’re in a period of discomfort?!
SO much more I could cover but this blog would be SOOOOO long!
The book is written like a story much like her other books and I was up until 1am Friday evening going through and marking off all the various dishes I’d like to have a go at.
Unfortunately, the couple of photos I did manage to take didn’t come out very well (spot the new blogger!!)
What are your favourite Nigella recipes??
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