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I have never been known in my family as a good cook. This is less due to my lack of ability in the kitchen, more my lack of effort. I have never had the patience to mess around with pastry and other such time consuming things - I'd much rather make something quick but equally delicious. Knowing this, my Mum bought me Nigella Express last Christmas and I have to hand it to her - it was spot on! As Nigella says in the intro `This is, as the title makes clear, a book about fast food, but it is a book about fast food for those who love eating. Perhaps that's self-evident: How could I write any other sort?" As such all the recipes in this book are as hassle free as possible and allow you to cook delicious meals quickly.
The book has 390 pages and is split into 13 different chapters:
(1) Everyday Easy - speedy suppers, day in, day out (2) Workday Winners - weekday entertaining made easy (3) Retro Rapido - time-warp favourites given the express twist (4) Get Up and Go - breakfast at breakneck speed (5) Quick Quick Slow - prepare ahead to save time later (6) Against the Clock - no time? No problem (7) Instant Calmer - super fast soul food (8) Razzle Dazzle - give a party pronto (9) Speedy Gonzales - Mexican-inspired moments (10) On the Run - food for eating on the hoof, packed lunches and picnics (11) Hey Presto - instant Italian (12) Holiday Snaps - Christmas quickies (13) Storecupboard SOS - how to cope when there's no time to go shopping
Each chapter has a brief intro by Nigella which normally gives a few handy hints to make your life easier and suggestions for appropriate occasions to make each dish. The recipes are all written in a very casual, easy to follow style and Nigella is fairly free as to whether you follow her instructions to the letter or add a few variations of your own along the way. A full list of ingredients is listed at the start of each recipe, although it's worth checking the recipe instructions through before you start, as she does sometimes tend to assume that you have lots of electric gadgets. I know others have complained that some of her ingredients can be hard to get hold of, but I managed to find everything I've needed in our local Sainsburys (which admittedly is a big one, but still pretty good going!)
The recipes include shortcuts to lots of traditionally very involved dishes, such as Tiramisu, which Nigella puts a twist on with Baileys rather than the traditional rum. Other favourites which I've cooked from here include a Lamb Tangine, Spanish Omlette (great for a bbq), Swedish Salmon, White Chocolate Peppermint Mousse (divine!), and Mexican Scrambled Eggs (our Saturday brunch treat)
As you'd expect from Nigella, all the recipes are full of flavour and colour and even for a cooking novice like me, I've not yet had a situation where I've had to serve up a disaster! As you might expect from Nigella though, many of the recipes are not exactly low in fat, but then I'm more bothered about what my food tastes like!
All recipes include mouth watering colour photos and there is a handy ribbon to mark your place - essential in a cookbook! If you wanted to try out a few recipes before buying the book, nearly all of the ones in this book are available on the BBC website, though I still strongly recommend investing in the book itself!
I think I'm like you, too lazy to enter a kitchen. But there is something about Nigella that makes me want to cook, crazy! I once saw her in a motorway service station and was half tempted to tell her she inspired me to get in the kitchen, thankfully I didn't! x
paulpry118 14.11.2008 00:06
Not too keen on Nigella Lawson but this book sounds quite good. If I see it out anywhere I shall have a flick through and see if it worth buying. Anna
innercircle 11.11.2008 22:24
I prefer Gordom Ramsay but must say this looks a good book.