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How to be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking

Overview

Now in paperback: the gorgeous, bestselling modern classic puts baking back on the agenda, and makes it simple and alluring for today’s cook.

How to be a Domestic Goddess is not about being a goddess, but about feeling like one. What this deliciously reassuring and mouthwatering cookbook demonstrates is that it’s not hard to bake a tray of muffins or a sponge layer cake -- but the rewards they bring are disproportionately high.

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Overview

Now in paperback: the gorgeous, bestselling modern classic puts baking back on the agenda, and makes it simple and alluring for today’s cook.

How to be a Domestic Goddess is not about being a goddess, but about feeling like one. What this deliciously reassuring and mouthwatering cookbook demonstrates is that it’s not hard to bake a tray of muffins or a sponge layer cake -- but the rewards they bring are disproportionately high.

Here is the book that feeds our fantasies, understands our anxieties and puts cakes, pies, pastries, preserves, puddings, bread and biscuits right back into our kitchens and our lives. There’s everything from cupcakes to chocolate cakes; from brownies to bagels; from gooseberry-cream crumble to double apple pie; from pizza to pistachio macaroons; scones and muffins; cheesecakes and steamed syrup sponge; from baklava to a Barbie cake; as well as children’s cooking, Christmas baking and other wonderful family festive treats -- all illustrated with ravishing photographs throughout.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780676974102
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 5/17/2001
  • Pages: 384

Meet the Author

Nigella Lawson
Nigella Lawson’s bestselling books, How to Eat, How to be a Domestic Goddess, Nigella Bites and Forever Summer, together with her TV programs, have made her a household name all over the world. She writes occasionally for various publications and is a regular contributor to the New York Times.

Biography

Nigella Lawson is perhaps the most marketable TV chef yet: She's model-gorgeous but not skinny, reverent without being ceremonious, a mom with some personal tragedy in her past, and a woman who takes obvious pleasure in her own recipes. Men like her because she's easy on the eyes; women identify with her pragmatism and lack of pretension.

Lawson, who is the first to point out that she is not a professional chef, favors the hands-on approach to food, literally -- if there's a point where plunging one's hands in the dish will work just as well as anything else in the preparing, she's not going to get food-safetyish about it. Her tactics are not just about ease. She wants people to appreciate food's sensual and pleasure-giving qualities more than to achieve culinary greatness. Her stated motto: "To achieve maximum pleasure through minimum effort." Her carefree demeanor comes through most in her show, where she can be seen snacking and finger-licking her way through a recipe. Here's a pertinent citation from How to Be a Domestic Goddess: "Perhaps the greatest joy of pastry-making is that it's mud-pie time; you get floury, sticky, wholly involved. I don't mean by this that you shouldn't use any equipment.... But you still need to use your hands for that last crucial combining, the rolling, and draping into the pan, and the piecing together of your pie. Just do it."

And while Lawson isn't exactly topping her BBC predecessors Two Fat Ladies on butter and lard consumption, save for a single chapter in How to Eat, she does generally ignore calorie counts, low-fat substitutions, and other concessions to the fitness establishment. If this philosophy means venturing forth on ham baked in Coca-Cola, lamb shank stew, or chocolate fudge cake, then so be it. "If it's something I don't want to carry on eating once I'm full, then I don't want the recipe," the famously voluptuous Lawson said in a Guardian interview in 2000. "I'm quite ruthless. I have to feel that I want to cook the thing again, and more than once. I need to feel that I have to stop myself from cooking it all the time."

The table of contents of Nigella Bites -- named for the BBC-TV/Style Network show she films at her West London home -- shows that Lawson is more concerned with the everyday than with stunning parties and dinners. Categories in the book include "TV Dinners," "Trashy," and "Family Food." She is not administering advice that is going to keep you running to specialty stores or trapped in your kitchen. She does not turn up her nose at frozen peas or other store-bought ingredients. She also acknowledges that mistakes can be made and tells you how to fix them (even if that just means throwing the whole thing out). For those who just want to make something delicious without a lot of fuss, Lawson's kamikaze approach is refreshing and should keep her in our kitchens for quite some time.

Good To Know

Lawson is the daughter of Nigel Lawson, who served as Margaret Thatcher's chancellor of the Exchequer.

Lawson's husband, journalist John Diamond, passed away in 2001 after the couple had been married nearly ten years. They have two children, Cosima and Bruno. In 2002, Lawson became linked with Diamond's friend, advertising tycoon Charles Saatchi.

Lawson began her career writing the restaurant review column for Britain's The Spectator. She has also been food editor of British Vogue and had a makeup column for the U.K.'s Times magazine. She is also a staple on ABC's Good Morning America.

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    1. Hometown:
      London, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 6, 1960
    2. Place of Birth:
      London, England
    1. Education:
      Degree in Modern and Medieval Languages, Oxford University, 1979
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Cappuccino Cupcakes

The only thing chocolatey about these is the white chocolate in the icing: underneath is just golden coffee sponge; I think of this combination as blonde mocha.

For the cupcakes:
3/4 cup self-rising cake flour
1/2 cup soft unsalted butter
7 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 heaped tablespoon instant espresso
2-3 tablespoons milk

For the icing:
5 1/2 ounces white chocolate
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sour cream
1 2/3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted scant teaspoon cocoa powder

12-cup muffin pan with paper baking cups

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Put all the cupcake ingredients except for the milk into the food processor and blitz to combine. Pulse again, adding milk down the funnel to form a batter with a soft, dropping consistency. Spoon into the baking cups in their pan and put in the oven to cook for about 20 minutes. When ready, remove from the oven and leave in the pan to cool for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

When they're completely cold, get on with the icing. Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave or in a double boiler, and after it's cooled a little, stir in the sour cream. Gradually beat in the sifted confectioners' sugar. And if the consistency isn't right for icing, add either hot water to thin or more sifted sugar to thicken. Spread roughly and generously over the top of each cupcake, and then dust sparingly with cocoa, by pressing a little through a tea strainer, so that they look like little cups of dusted cappuccino.

Makes 12.

Pistachio Macaroons

These are the world's most elegant macaroons. The color alone, that waxy pale jade, perfectly matches the aromatic delicacy of their taste; and their nutty chewiness melts into the fragrant, soft paste with which they're paired. Of all the recipes in this book, this is the one of which I think I'm most proud: cookie bliss.

These are perfect at the end of dinner alongside some confectioner's-sugar-dusted raspberries; or alone with coffee, gracefully piled on a plate or cake stand.

Makes 20 sandwiches

For the macaroons:
1/3 cup or 3 ounces pistachios
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 large egg whites
1 tbsp sugar

For the buttercream:
1/4 cup or 2 ounces pistachios
1 2/3 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 baking sheets, lined with parchment paper

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Grind the pistachios in a food processor along with the confectioners' sugar (this stops them turning into an oily mess), until as fine as dust. Whisk the egg whites until fairly stiff, but not dry, sprinkle the sugar over and whisk until very stiff. Fold the whites into the pistachio-sugar dust, and combine gently. Pipe small rounds onto your lined baking sheet, using a plain 1/2-inch nozzle. Let them sit for about 10 minutes to form a skin. Then put in the oven and cook for 10-12 minutes: they should be set, but not dried out.

Remove from the oven and let cool, still on their sheets, while you get on with the filling. This is simple work: grind the nuts and confectioners' sugar in the processoor as before; then cream the butter and continue creaming as you add the nut dust. Make sure you have a well-combined soft buttercream. Then simply sandwich the macaroons together.

From the Hardcover edition.

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First Chapter

Cappuccino Cupcakes

The only thing chocolatey about these is the white chocolate in the icing: underneath is just golden coffee sponge; I think of this combination as blonde mocha.

For the cupcakes:
3/4 cup self-rising cake flour
1/2 cup soft unsalted butter
7 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 heaped tablespoon instant espresso
2-3 tablespoons milk

For the icing:
5 1/2 ounces white chocolate
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sour cream
1 2/3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
scant teaspoon cocoa powder

12-cup muffin pan with paper baking cups

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Put all the cupcake ingredients except for the milk into the food processor and blitz to combine. Pulse again, adding milk down the funnel to form a batter with a soft, dropping consistency. Spoon into the baking cups in their pan and put in the oven to cook for about 20 minutes. When ready, remove from the oven and leave in the pan to cool for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

When they're completely cold, get on with the icing. Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave or in a double boiler, and after it's cooled a little, stir in the sour cream. Gradually beat in the sifted confectioners' sugar. And if the consistency isn't right for icing, add either hot water to thin or more sifted sugar to thicken. Spread roughly and generously over the top of each cupcake, and then dust sparingly with cocoa, by pressing a little through a tea strainer, so that they look like little cups of dusted cappuccino.

Makes12.

Pistachio Macaroons

These are the world's most elegant macaroons. The color alone, that waxy pale jade, perfectly matches the aromatic delicacy of their taste; and their nutty chewiness melts into the fragrant, soft paste with which they're paired. Of all the recipes in this book, this is the one of which I think I'm most proud: cookie bliss.

These are perfect at the end of dinner alongside some confectioner's-sugar-dusted raspberries; or alone with coffee, gracefully piled on a plate or cake stand.

Makes 20 sandwiches

For the macaroons:
1/3 cup or 3 ounces pistachios
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 large egg whites
1 tbsp sugar

For the buttercream:
1/4 cup or 2 ounces pistachios
1 2/3 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 baking sheets, lined with parchment paper

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Grind the pistachios in a food processor along with the confectioners' sugar (this stops them turning into an oily mess), until as fine as dust. Whisk the egg whites until fairly stiff, but not dry, sprinkle the sugar over and whisk until very stiff. Fold the whites into the pistachio-sugar dust, and combine gently. Pipe small rounds onto your lined baking sheet, using a plain 1/2-inch nozzle. Let them sit for about 10 minutes to form a skin. Then put in the oven and cook for 10-12 minutes: they should be set, but not dried out.

Remove from the oven and let cool, still on their sheets, while you get on with the filling. This is simple work: grind the nuts and confectioners' sugar in the processoor as before; then cream the butter and continue creaming as you add the nut dust. Make sure you have a well-combined soft buttercream. Then simply sandwich the macaroons together.
Read More Show Less

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