Friday, 5 September 2014

#BPBR no. 1 - Nigella Express

'Nigella Express', by Nigella Lawson, published in 2007.

This cookbook came into my possession at Christmas time in 2007 as a gift from my youngest sister Muireann. She knows me well. The book is well worn at this stage, which to me, is one of the best signs of a cookbook. This isn't my only cookbook by Nigella but it is the one I return to most often and is among my favourite cookbooks of my entire (sizable) collection. I hope you enjoy reading this review of 'Nigella Express', my first #BPBR!

The cookbook - 'Nigella Express' - did you guess this would be first up?!
1. The photos in this book are very eye-catching. They range from light and bright to darker and more moody, always suiting the feel of the particular dish very well. There a couple of action shots and shots featuring the woman herself, which really add to the appeal. Some recipes even get an entire double page spread for the photo, such as the Slow-roast Tomatoes, Goat's Cheese and Mint Salad - stunning! The Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Sundae photo is drool inducing and can't be left unmentioned. Another big plus, each and every recipe has a photograph, which is appreciated by most every home cook.

2. Nigella's writing has a certain way about it. As she began life in publishing and journalism, her turn of phrase is very engaging and although quite formal, it can often be very witty and endearing. All her recipes very clearly state ingredients on top in bold font, with the method numbered and clearly and concisely written below and this structure makes the recipes a breeze to follow. 

3. Likes or positives about 'Nigella Express' - there are a lot! Okay, so although this is a cookbook about 'fast food', as it states in the introduction, " is a book about fast food for those who love eating", there are chapters for so many different occasions - weekday, weekend, parties, Christmas, store cupboard etc. The recipes, they work. Some of my favourites are...Cocktail sausages (especially for entertaining), Banana Butterscotch Muffins (I substitute chocolate for the butterscotch), Brandied-Bacony Chicken, Potato and Mushroom Gratin, Roquamole, Rocky Road Crunch Bars, Butterfly cakes (one of the best bun recipes I've found), Homemade Instant Pancake Mix, Instant Chocolate Mousse (an amazingly decadent dinner party dessert),  and Flourless Chocolate Brownies (I even have my own version here on the blog). Safe to say, it's a well used and treasured cookbook!

4. My dislikes are few. One recipe I found didn't work for me and was quite insipid was the Red Prawn and Mango Curry. I also don't like the fact that my book is looking quite tatty at this stage, but then that's a good thing in many ways, and no one's fault but my own... 
SCORE FOR 3 & 4 = 9

5. This is a cookbook you should add to your collection if it's not already there. As I leaf through it again, I'm already noting down recipes I must try out at a later date. It has stood the test of time for me and comes with a big thumbs up. 
The overall score is...18/20 or 90%! 

Delicious Roquamole pictured here; I made it for a dinner party as a canapé
P.S. Thanks Murmur ;-) x.

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  1. That was actually one of the first cookbooks I ever used! It's nice thinking back to it now that I have my own exponentially growing cookbook collection. I used the Peanut noodle salad recipe more times than I can remember.

    Great idea for a series aswel, I look forward to reading them :)

    1. Hi Mark,
      Thanks for the lovely comment. I must try that noodle salad, it sounds yummy. I do really love this cookbook but then again, sometimes there are just too many cookbooks out there! I am glad to hear you're enjoying the #BPBRs ;-)

    2. There's no such thing as too many cookbooks. I don't want to hear that kind of negativity from you again :P What's next on the list?

    3. This is true, there is absolutely no such thing!
      The Hairy Bikers turned Dieters is up next, later this week. Low calorie made very tasty :-)

    4. Never read any of their stuff. Looking forward to it.