Friday 7 December 2012

Book Review: Nigellissima

Part of Getting Your Home Ready For Christmas, for me, is cooking up a storm. It helps in making our home somewhere that our family loves to be, which, in turn, makes me feel happy. 

I don't think it would be an understatement to say that when I heard Nigella was bringing out a new book, Nigellissima, my squeals could be heard echoing around the whole of England.

And, not only was there a Nigella book in the offing, but it just happened to be launched when I was discovering quite how lovely Italian cooking can be. I was working my way through Gennaro Contaldo's Easy Italian when the news cam through that THE NEW BOOK was to be Italian-inspired. Huzzah!

{Let me start with a slight niggle before I get on with the serious business in hand: the photo on the front is waaahaaaaay too air-brushed. Nigella is one of the most beautiful people in the world. Are we really at the stage where we think even that level of gorgeousness needs perfecting? I guess we are. Sad face.}

Now, let me get off my soapbox, and dive into the pages of Nigella's ninth book of loveliness, Nigellissima: Instant Italian Inspiration.

The recipe I'm showing you here is Nigella's Quick Calabrian Lasagna. It's not completely straight-forward, in that there's more preparation time needed than ordinary lasagna (but perhaps far less needed than the full-on Calabrean version, who knows?!); however, it is completely delicious.

The inclusion of mozarella and eggs ensure that the lack of cheese sauce doesn't matter. Or, at least, the new version tastes so yummy that you don't notice a lack of anything.

As an aside, isn't peeling eggs one of the nicest jobs in the world? So bizarrely satisfying feeling the hard shell cracking to reveal the warm rubberiness beneath.

The first time I made this, I did have to keep checking which layer came next during the assemblage. Is it the ham, or the lasagna? Aaah, no, it's the mozzarella again. But, on subsequent occasions, it's come as easy as ABC.

And when the meal comes steaming out of the oven, wafting your home with it's warm and comforting smell? You can stand back and admire your Italian-inspired awesomeness.

 We all had seconds and we all fell back in our chairs, and were all fully and satisfyingly yummified.


There are oodles of recipes in here that make Nigellissima worth buying, including a whole chapter on Christmas. If you're feeling nervous then have a go at the hazelnut chocolate cheesecake - pip-squeakingly easy and oh-so-good!

Ultimate verdict: Nigellissimahas a well-earned place on my recipe-book shelf. Probably on the fancier end of my cooking style, which definitely leans towards the homely, but none the worse for that. Nigella's lyrical prose and drool-worthy range of recipes absolutely gets my vote.

And how could I do a post on anything Nigella-related without mentioning my all-time favourite recipe book: Nigella Christmas: Food, Family, Friends, Festivities?  Just getting this book down each November, planning, again, what we'll be eating, fills my heart with Christmas happiness. Is that angels singing?

Did you notice my new favourites from Polie Pottery? That jug? That lasagna dish? {from here and here, if you fancy dropping hints to Santa} Love. Love. Love.

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Loo xx from Jumbles and Pompoms said...

Lasagne without the making of a cheese sauce? Allelujah! I've NEVER mastered the white sauce.

Of course I spotted the Polie pottery. Almost as yummy as the lasagne itself. xx

Unknown said...

Oh! Oh! Oh! I didn't even know that she has a new book out AND I have a 25% off tomorrow at my local bookstore. Insert squeals of delight here C:

Donna@anangloinquébec said...

She is one of my favourites. Keeps it simple and oh so delicious! I agree, why airbrush Nigella?? She is stunningly beautiful. Love the fact that she celebrates the "real body".

Maria said...

I'm a huge Nigella fan too! So excited for the new book!

rusty duck said...

I will never be a domestic goddess, but I do love a bit of Italian. Bring it on.

Cathy (aka Catherine) and Bill (aka William) said...

I just took my Nigella Christmas book down from the pantry top shelf (where I keep my Christmas cookbooks). Every year use her Brined Turkey recipe (actually I have memorized that recipe but just like to have it on hand to enjoy the photos).

I can't wait to get her new cookbook (Secret: Whenever I cook I pretend that I am Nigella and have a running commentary in my mind... take care with those closeup camera shots!). Speaking of photos - I totally agree that they did not need to do so much air brushing on her photo. She is gorgeous just as she is!!

Blondie's Journal said...

I loved her show but I don't have any of her cookbooks. This recipe would be lovely for company. Love your dishes and I will check out the book!


Robynne's Nest said...

Hi Sara, remember me...........I know...I know...I'm very slack...thanks for the heads up...I love Nigella in all her glorious curvy splendour (as well as Jamie...who I'm watching as I type)...that lasagne sounds divine...I'm going out to buy that book (I mean, order it from Amazon)...happy cooking! Robx said...

Oh my, didn't even know that Miss Nigella had a book coming out and now I must run out and buy myself a Christmas present ;) happy weekend Sarah


I noticed your Polish pottery right away. I have a few favorite pieces that I bought in Poland ages ago ... when it was super cheap.

Thanks for the great review.


Miranda @ Pressing On said...

Sarah, I just love your reviews. This looks like a heavenly book and of course I noticed your dishes. Pure Gorgeousness as always. My dishes seriously lean towards function, not beauty.

Privet and Holly said...

Love your pottery ~
fun and oh so YOU!

I haven't been on the
Nigella train, but you've
inspired me to hop on
and take a ride! It all
sounds too yummy.....

Sounds like you are
enjoying the season,
my friend!

xo Suzanne

Lydia said...

Yummified- what a wonderful word. Lovely post. Gained 5 pounds reading it):-

Stephanie said...

Oh my word, this all looks SO GOOD! And I love Nigella!

Lisa @ Fern Creek Cottage said...

Love the gorgeous Nigella!!

Unknown said...

Gotta love Nigella, sexy cooking mistress that she is. Been thinking of getting this book, looks like I'll be adding it to my Christmas wish list ;) xxx

dornrös*chen living now said...

yeah, looks really yummieee!!
i just can smell it :)
enjoy the evening!
lovely greetings by sleeping*beauty dornrös*chen!

Sarah said...

Sarah, I do love Nigella also and really miss her TV show here in the was so good. I have a very similar if not the same little polka dot pitcher I got in England - I want to say I may picked it up at Littlewood's or Allders - lovely- Merry Christmas to you and your family! xo

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