Newest Review: ... off by the fact that there isn't a photo for every recipe. However the layout of the book is easy to follow. Nigella has split this book u... more
'Forever Summer' - I'd eat most of this stuff all year round!
Forever Summer with Nigella - Nigella Lawson
Member Name: claridge
Forever Summer with Nigella - Nigella Lawson
Advantages: Recipes easy to follow, lovely curries, beautiful illustrations
Disadvantages: Bit OTT on the salads!
Nigella Lawson - successful food critic and TV chef. But are her recipes actually any good? A few years ago I bought 'Forever Summer' to find out. Today, I am a dedicated Nigella fan.
Forever Summer contains a selection of 'summer' themed recipes - food ideal for consuming on a hot summer day. Recipes range from starters, soups, salads, fish dishes, meat dishes, vegetable side dishes, puddings, ice creams and drinks. Salads tend to feature quite heavily, due to the summer themed nature of the book.
The problem I find with most recipe books is the ratio of recipes included to ones I would actually want to make. However, for me, the measure of a good recipe book is one which contains at least 5 really outstanding recipes I would want to cook again and again. This I believe warrants the purchase of the book. There is nothing worse than having a recipe book stuck on your shelf where you don't actually make anything in them (easy trap to fall into!). 'Forever Summer' meets these requirements for me; I shall outline a few of my personal successes.
The curries in the book are outstanding. The Green Bean and Cashew Nut Chicken Curry is a personal favourite; one my old housemates labelled my "signature dish". All of Nigella's currys are made from scratch, blending herbs and spices together, combining them with onions, and then adding meat/water/cream as appropriate. The combination of green beans and cashews is divine with the thigh meat of the chicken - although boning chicken thighs takes a little extra time, it is definitely worth it for the depth of flavour you get. The meat is tender, the curry flavours creamy and hot simultaneously.
Similarly, I found the Mauritian Prawn Curry a real success. Hotter than the previous curry described, and with a tomato base instead. Hot, spicy, and fresh - works brilliantly with prawns. Great for introducing guests to seafood, without scaring them with an overally "fishy" dish.
Each time I have made these dishes I have cooked for 3-5 people (hungry boys) and the results speak for themselves; clean plates and people hankering in the kitchen trying to find seconds.
There are other success stories from this book; a delicious courgette and rice based soup, entitled 'Happiness Soup'. This recipe contains tumeric and lemon, which really sets off the flavours of the courgettes and rice. Each recipe works in a similar fashion - ingredients are selected carefully in order to bring out the flavours of others.
Ingredients wise, at a first glance you might gawp at the length of the lists. She uses a lot of herbs and spices. All for a good reason though. What you notice after cooking her recipes for a while, is a lot of these herbs overlap. It gets to the point where you find your cupboard stocked up with all the basic herbs, so when you go to the supermarket you only need to buy the fresh stuff, such as meat and dairy products. So what may seem expensive to begin with, actually pays off in the long run.
Quantities are listed in metric and imperial I believe, and despite some ridiculing in the past, you can find pretty much everything in your average supermarket. Recipes are easy to follow, although I would always recommend reading each recipe through before you start - so you know what to expect in advance. Quantity wise, Nigella usually specifies that recipes serve 6 - however, I find one batch usually serves 4 hungry people with not a lot left over!
The book is beautifully illustrated throughout - photos that really make your mouth water. Great for showing people, if they want to know more!
On the downside, there aren't too many faults to be found - as I mentioned before, the book is a bit top heavy on salads, and a lot of these don't look anything special. For me, Nigella's strenghs lie in her fantastic main courses.
To conclude - for the large handful of really good recipes in this book, it is worth purchasing. The dishes will impress anyone you cook for, and the flavours are divine.
Summary: Great food for a casual dinner party/cooking for friends
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