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Nigella Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home

Nigella Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home

2.9 47
by Nigella Lawson

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Comprehensive, informative, and engaging, Nigella Kitchen offers feel-good food for cooks and eaters that is comforting yet always seductive, nostalgic but with a modern twist—whether super-fast exotic recipes for the weekday rush, leisurely slow-cook dishes for weekends and special occasions, or irresistible cakes and cookies in true "domestic goddess"


Comprehensive, informative, and engaging, Nigella Kitchen offers feel-good food for cooks and eaters that is comforting yet always seductive, nostalgic but with a modern twist—whether super-fast exotic recipes for the weekday rush, leisurely slow-cook dishes for weekends and special occasions, or irresistible cakes and cookies in true "domestic goddess" style. Nigella Kitchen answers everyday cooking quandaries—what to feed a group of hungry teenagers, how to rustle up a spur-of-the-moment meal for friends, or how to treat yourself when you're home alone—and since real cooking is so often about leftovers, here one recipe can morph into another . . . from ham hocks in cider to cidery pea soup, from "praised" chicken to Chinatown salad. This isn't just about being thrifty; it's about being creative and seeing how recipes evolve.

With 190 mouthwatering and inspiring recipes, including more than 60 express-style recipes (30 minutes or under), Nigella Kitchen offers plenty of choice—from clams with chorizo to Guinness gingerbread, from Asian braised beef shank to flourless chocolate lime cake, from pasta alla Genovese to Venetian carrot cake. In addition, Nigella presents her no-nonsense kitchen kit must-haves (and crucially what isn't needed) in the way of equipment and magical standby ingredients. But above all, she reminds the reader how much pleasure there is to be had in real food and in reclaiming the traditional rhythms of the kitchen, as she cooks to the beat of the heart of the home, creating simple, delicious recipes to make life less complicated

Gorgeously illustrated, this expansive, lively narrative, with its rich feast of food, is destined to be a twenty-first-century classic.

Editorial Reviews

It was a British Guardian reviewer who hit on the reason for Nigella Lawson's extraordinary appeal: "She thinks," he wrote, "not just as cook, but as eater." Indeed, Nigella herself never pretends to be a trained chef; instead, she modestly presents herself as some one who cooks for pleasure. That humility extends to this cookbook, which contains a full banquet of everyday meals, quick-turnover lunches, and self-indulgent weekend feasts. In her new Nigella Kitchen, this Domestic Goddess doesn't disdain leftovers or money-savers and she comes to our rescue with tips about shopping and essential standby ingredients. And we haven't yet mentioned the best part: her delectable recipes for Asian braised beef, Clams with Chorizo; Pasta Genovese; and, dare we mention, Guinness Gingerbread. Worth recommending.

Library Journal
Lawson, who's written eight cookbooks (e.g., Nigella Fresh), begins her latest with a list of items she uses in the kitchen and a section on shortcuts and tips. Main course recipes include Roasted Seafood, which calls for 16 unpeeled, raw, colossal-size shrimp, and Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic. Desserts range from the beautifully layered Swedish Summer Cake (with nearly two pounds of strawberries) to simple-to-prepare Chocolate Chip Cookies. Whether you're preparing dinner for the family or guests, you'll find plenty of options that are simple to make and a feast for the eyes. [Six-city tour.]

Product Details

Hachette Books
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
7.70(w) x 10.00(h) x 1.80(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Nigella Kitchen

Recipes from the Heart of the Home

By Nigella Lawson


Copyright © 2010 Nigella Lawson
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4013-2395-0










There are times when I, a food obsessive, a food addict even, find it difficult to think of what to cook. It doesn't happen often and I recover my greedy wits promptly enough, but I have to admit my weakest area, the one most likely to buckle under pressure, is the children's supper. If I don't get myself focused at the beginning of the week, I find that as suppertime approaches, which it rapidly does and daily (and I think my energy is at its lowest point at around 4:30 pm), I begin to flag and start opening and shutting freezer and refrigerator doors with more frenzy than enthusiasm.

My children are now of an age when they come back from school, pick at everything in the refrigerator, don't eat up all their dinner, and then pick again at bedtime. You understand, it can make mealtimes fraught. Plus, children are given so many assignments now, which can cast rather a pall on proceedings.

I suppose, too, I find this – I think many parents do – rather a sensitive issue. We all cherish that fantasy of the heart-warming family meal when everyone discusses their day and the table resounds with chat and loving laughter. Oh dear, please tell me it is a fantasy.

But it is what it is, as the contemporary wisdom has it, and from my very first book, which dedicated a whole chapter to weaning and feeding babies and toddlers, my recipes for children have taken a strictly autobiographical route. What other way is there of writing about food? My books can only ever be a record of what I cook. I remember when my daughter – sixteen at the time of writing – was little she asked me for "children's food." I was – and remain – quite adamant that there is no such thing as children's food, that food is food, and that's that. I'm not saying I don't sometimes indulge a childish taste or cook something I might not think of making if I were eating alone, but the recipes that follow are not ones that apply only to parents with children to feed.

Yes, it might seem a bit eccentric to serve up the Crustless Pizza for adult company, but my friends would probably be thrilled. The Chicken Fajitas make a perfect supper, and the Pasta alla genovese certainly earns a place in my Last Meal menu.

But before I go on, I should address the salt and sugar issue. I admit that as my children have grown older, I have got more relaxed. But, those who wish to limit their children's intake can reduce amounts freely; and I myself have just discovered the joys of agave nectar, a natural, unprocessed syrup with a fashionably low GI, which you can use in place of sugar. I actually find it sweeter, so use about 25% less. But, as ever, you should go by taste.

I suppose my wish is that my children learn what a pleasure real food is, are not hedged about too much with can'ts and shouldn'ts and grow up understanding that eating is something to take pleasure in and not feel guilty about.

Mortadella and mozzarella frittata

In the great professional kitchens of old, French chefs would check a novice's ability by making him (and yes, it always was a him) cook an omelet. To ensure sufficient lightness of touch and swiftness at the stove, all the better to keep the omelet sufficiently baveuse, the chef would insist the pan be cooked on the back burner, while the front burner licked ferociously at the applicant's tender wrist. Yup, that's why I go for frittatas, not omelets. The Italian version is so much less stress-inducing: no flipping needed, either of pan or mind; you simply preheat the broiler and transfer the fat, eggy cake to it, once it's cooked halfway through on the stovetop.

This is a particularly voluptuous example of the Italianate version – the Marilyn Monroe of the frittata world.

Serves 4–8, depending on age and appetite

6 eggs
4 ounces mortadella, chopped
4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped parsley, plus extra for sprinkling
1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon butter
drop garlic flavored oil

Turn on the broiler to heat. Beat the eggs in a bowl, then add the chopped or diced mortadella and mozzarella.

Whisk in the tablespoon of parsley, along with the Parmesan, salt, and pepper, remembering that both mortadella and Parmesan will provide a certain saline hit.

Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan (with ovenproof handle) or cast iron skillet approx. 10 inches in diameter and, once it's hot and foamy, add the omelet mixture.

Cook for about 5 minutes over a gentle heat, without stirring, until the frittata is set underneath and golden.

Transfer the pan to the hot broiler (keeping the handle away from the heat) and cook the frittata until it is set on top – don't leave the pan unattended, as this can happen quite quickly, and wear oven mitts to remove the pan.

Let stand for a couple of minutes, then run a knife or flexible spatula round the edge of the frittata and ease it out of the pan, keeping it top-side up, onto a board or plate. Cut into 8 triangles like a cake, then sprinkle with the extra parsley and serve with green beans or salad.

Making leftovers right


Leftovers should be covered and refrigerated as soon as possible, and eaten within 1–2 days. As with the Crisp Chicken Cutlets on p.28, think no further than sliding a wedge of this – cold – into bread or a roll, to make a sandwich, as offered under glass counters in bars all over Italy.

Crustless pizza

I wouldn't want to go bandying about the name of this recipe in Naples, but this is what I call it. If it helps, think of it as a grilled cheese sandwich, only without the bread. Whatever, it makes a fast and easy supper on days when you're too tired to think about what to cook. This pretty well makes itself before you've even realized you're in the kitchen.

Where I've suggested some sliced chorizo to adorn the top, you could just as easily sprinkle in some corn or snipped ham, or just about anything you fancy, and can get away with. But rest assured, there are plenty of times I've cooked this without any final addition: just egg, flour, salt, milk, and cheese. This is comfort: quicktime.

Serves 2–4, depending on age and appetite

1 egg
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
salt, to taste
1 cup whole milk
butter for greasing
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
2 ounces small chorizo or pepperoni slices, approx. ¾ inch diameter (optional)
1 × round ovenproof pie dish, 8 or 9 inches diameter

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Beat the egg with the flour, salt, and milk to make a smooth batter.

Grease a round ovenproof pie dish, then stir half the grated cheese into the batter, before pouring it into the dish.

Bake for 30 minutes. Take the dish out of the oven, sprinkle with the remaining cheese, and add the chorizo or pepperoni (if using) – or anything else – now, too. Return to the oven and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes to make sure it's heated through.

Once the cheese on top is melted and looks burnished gold on the crustless pizza, take it out of the oven and serve, cut into slices. A green or tomato salad on the side would not be a bad idea ...


Leftovers can be reheated next day in a hot oven for 8–10 minutes, but sadly they won't be as nice as the first time around.

Crisp chicken cutlets with salad on the side

I suppose these are really grown-up chicken nuggets, although it may make you feel better if you throw yourself into Italian mode and consider them scaloppine di pollo. But when I'm eating food like this – crisp coating, tender meat within – I don't think I care what it's called.

I'm not trying to strong-arm you into the salad I love to eat alongside – baby spinach leaves, or sometimes arugula, with some diced tomato and Parmesan – but such is my fervor that I feel I must append the recipe (such as it is).

The fresh breadcrumbs I specify are, as ever, really stale breadcrumbs, but I feel they must come from something that has been recognizably a loaf of bread rather than from a container. My freezer is full of crumbs that I've ground and stashed there, but if yours isn't, then you could use matzo meal instead, though you'll need to double the amount; it's so fine – even the coarser ground kind – relative to breadcrumbs, that you need to bolster quantities to ensure a sufficiently sturdy and crisp carapace.

Serves 4

4 chicken breast fillets, skinless and boneless
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (such as Lea & Perrins)
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs (see introduction above)
1 teaspoon celery salt, or ½ teaspoon for younger children
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
oil for frying, such as peanut
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Unroll a large piece of plastic wrap, then open out the chicken breasts and lay them on the plastic. Cover the fanned-out chicken breasts with another piece of plastic wrap, and bash with a rolling pin until they are thin, but still whole. (If the underside sections come away, don't worry.)

Whisk the buttermilk with the Worcestershire sauce in a shallow bowl, or put it into a resealable bag and squish to mix. Then add the flattened chicken pieces to the bowl or bag and leave out for about 30 minutes – or refrigerate overnight if you've got time – to marinate.

Preheat the oven to 300°F, if you're using a smaller frying pan and want to keep the cutlets warm as you fry them. Mix the breadcrumbs, celery salt, cayenne, thyme, and Parmesan in a wide, shallow dish. Then, once the chicken has had its steeping, lift out the buttermilky pieces and press into the breadcrumb mixture one at a time.

Coat the chicken on both sides with the seasoned crumbs and then lay them on a wire rack, the sort you'd use for cooling cakes.

Heat the oil in a frying pan – using just enough to cover the base with about ¼ inch of oil.

Once the oil is hot, fry the bigger pieces of chicken for about 3 minutes per side, and the smaller bits from the underside of the breast for about 2 minutes per side. As you remove the cooked pieces of chicken, blot them on paper towels and, if you wish, keep them warm in a low oven (on a cookie sheet) as indicated above, or serve them as you go. However you choose to dish up, serve these crisp chicken cutlets sprinkled with chopped parsley. You could consider a lemon wedge on the side, too, and the salad on the next page.


The chicken can be marinated 1 day ahead in the buttermilk mixture. Store in refrigerator until ready to breadcrumb and use. Leftovers should be refrigerated as soon as possible, and eaten within 1–2 days.


For 1/8-inch thick cutlets: the marinated and crumb-coated chicken can be put on parchment-lined cookie sheets, covered with plastic wrap, and frozen. When solid, transfer to resealable bags and store for up to 3 months. Fry direct from frozen over medium–low heat for 4–5 minutes each side. Check to make sure the chicken is cooked through before serving.

Salad on the side

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste
2 good-sized tomatoes, seeded and cut into small dice
1 × 5-ounce bag salad spinach or arugula, or salad leaves of your choice
½ cup shaved Parmesan

Whisk together the oil and vinegar in a bowl and season with salt and pepper, then add the tomato dice.

When you are ready to eat, add the spinach and Parmesan and toss to mix.

Making leftovers right


There is no better way to eat a leftover breaded cutlet – whatever the meat, frankly – than properly all'Italiana, that's to say, cold and stuffed together with some arugula leaves into a split ciabatta roll, which may or may not be spread with mayo: think Mediterranean sub. I salivate at the very thought. A few tomatoes alongside, as well as a glass of beer so cold it hurts, and you've got yourself a simply heavenly snatched supper.

Cheesy chili

I can't count how often I find myself stirring a pan with some ground beef in it, day to day. Not that this is anything to apologize for: it's easy, quick and comforting. I could probably measure out my life in chili bowls, and that's no bad thing either. This recipe draws again on a favorite time-saving practice of mine, which is to start off with some paprikapiccante chorizo sausages that give off a fiery orange oil in which to sear and season the beef.

Tex-Mex custom decrees that chili be eaten with – among other embellishments – a handful of grated cheese thrown on top. This is merely an impatient rendering of the same, whereby you simply chop or tear some mozzarella and stir it in to the chili in the pan, just long enough to let it melt into the meat.

If you've got the time, and have managed to think ahead, you could put some baking potatoes into the oven to provide a substantial vessel for the cheesy chili (it will also make the chili go further), but I don't think anyone would argue with a bowl of tortilla chips alongside, or indeed a beautiful loaf of bread, freshly sliced for dunking. All I'd add would be a crisp green salad, sharply dressed, and a small cup of chopped fresh cilantro for all-round anointing. My son, however, prefers to eat this with some steam-swollen barley, in which case the whole becomes, naturally enough, Charley.

Serves 4 hungry teenage boys or 6 normal people

4 ounces (2 sausages) chorizo, cut into fat coins and halved
1 pound ground beef, preferably organic
½ teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 × 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
½ cup water, to rinse out empty tomato can
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (such as Lea & Perrins)
1 × 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
handful chopped fresh cilantro, to serve (optional)

Put a smallish cast iron Dutch oven or heavy-based pan (that comes with a lid) on the heat and add the semi-circles of chunky chorizo, cooking just long enough for them to start giving off a lucent orange oil.

Add the ground beef, trying to break it up a little with a wooden fork and turn it in the oil to combine with the chorizo.

When the meat has begun to lose its all-over raw color, sprinkle with the cocoa and oregano, dollop in the tomato paste and give a good stir before adding the canned tomatoes. Rinse the empty can out with ½ cup water, and empty that in turn into the pan, followed by the Worcestershire sauce and the drained, rinsed kidney beans, then let it all come to a bubble.

Turn the heat down low, clamp on the lid and let the chili simmer gently for 20 minutes. I often remove it to a cold dish (for efficient cooling) when it's cooked, to reheat and eat later. (I've done that here, and reheated in a skillet, which is why you see the chili in what might seem an inappropriate vessel.)

If you're moving seamlessly on, remove the lid now, turn up the heat until the chili starts to bubble vigorously again, then turn off the heat and stir in the mozzarella. Season and serve immediately, sprinkling with cilantro, if so desired.


The chili, without the cheese, can be made 2 days ahead. Cool, cover and refrigerate as quickly as possible. Reheat gently in skillet or large saucepan until piping hot, then add cheese as directed in recipe.


The cooled chili, without the cheese, can be frozen in airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat as above.

Barbecued ground beef

For us, at home, this is barbecued beef sauce cowboy-style (well, we are all entitled to our delusions; indeed, we rely on them) which is to say it's a meat sauce either sandwiched inside a soft white roll to make a Sloppy Joe, or Sloppy José, or spooned just as it is, out of individual bowls, with a tray of toasted cheesy tortilla chips alongside for dipping and all-round augmentation of pleasure. There are many working days on which this and this alone is the crucial factor in staving off maternal meltdown. I've never served it with pasta, but it's a possibility – and if you were to, I'd advise a small, chunky-ish pasta, such as chifferi rigati or ditalini.


Excerpted from Nigella Kitchen by Nigella Lawson. Copyright © 2010 Nigella Lawson. Excerpted by permission of Hyperion.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.


Meet the Author

Nigella Lawson is the author of How to Eat, How to Be a Domestic Goddess (for which she won the British Author of the Year Award), Nigella Bites, Forever Summer, Feast, Nigella Express, and Nigella Christmas. She has been profiled in the New York Times Magazine and in many other publications. She lives in London with her husband and two children.

Brief Biography

London, England
Date of Birth:
January 6, 1960
Place of Birth:
London, England
Degree in Modern and Medieval Languages, Oxford University, 1979

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Nigella Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home 2.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 47 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is where I have found inspiration on many occasions; both special and everyday. Very glad to have met her aquaintance through her books and her television appearances. Her extraordinary command of English makes all of her cookbooks so interesting and appealing. I have purchased 2 as Christmas gifts this year, wanting to introduce Nigella to both my son and my aunt.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book with a lot of information. It is a huge book and includes cooking tips and measurements. Great gift for a home cook.
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USMC_Nana More than 1 year ago
I am so impressed by this book. She gives you so much information besides just recipes. It explains differences in types of pan used in the kitchen. It has great pictures but LOTS of information on how to do a specific recipe. It goes beyond the basic do this, do that, set the temp, etc etc. She gives your hints and suggestions and information that explains "why" you should do something a particular way. This book is great!!
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