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This book has become one of those books that has become a classic cookbook and in my opinion defined what it is to be a domestic goddess in the kitchen. And more importantly If you are a fan of baking then you will love this book as it really is primarily a baking book.
Nigella herself writes in such a style that you understand the comfort of food and its almost like she is a friend having a chat over a cup of tea. Her narrative of the recipes make this the sort of book that I can spend ages just reading and dreaming about the food I want to make from it. It has chapters covering the following-
Although this is primarily a baking book it isn't only sweet things, you find plenty of savoury items too such as pies, and pizzas (as well as the very useful bread section) . The book is really easy to understand and if you are a novice to baking, even to cooking generally you will have no problems following these recipes. However if you need pictures of the recipe you are cooking you might be a little bit disappointed by this book as it does lack pictures on occasions. The food is real and is sophisticated enough that you'd be happy to serve it to your friends, but not the sort where you feel intimidated by the recipe like some celebrity chefs books i've seen. I should also say that pretty much all of the ingredients are easy to find, she doesn't use anything so 'out there' that you can't find it in your local supermarket!
This is the sort of book you flick through and find so many yummy things you want to make that you don't know where to start. My book at the moment has many tabs marking the pages of things I want to make. For me the highlights in this book really are the cake and chocolate sections, the chocolate brownies are to die for and have fast become a go-to recipe, and the cakes I make from this book are a hit whenever I take them for my work colleagues.
If you only ever buy one Nigella book then make it this one!
I am a massive fan of nigella's cookbooks, I find they provide delicious recipes in a simple and easy to follow way. The domestic goddess book offers all this while taking into account the time constraints imposed on the modern cook, providing fab recipes that are amazing and practical to produce.
The book is split into sections by food type for easy searching and quick inspiration. The sections are: cakes, biscuits, pies, puddings, chocolate,children, christmas, bread and yeast, and finally the domestic goddesses larder.
Each section is opened by a couple gold pages of nigella's musings. There are lots of recipes in each section which usually open with a brief introduction from nigella, for example how she came to create the recipe or when it is best eaten. The style is relaxed as if she is chatting to you over the kitchen table and I enjoy reading this part and taking ideas from it. Next there is a list of ingredients, followed by the recipe. The recipe is written in a prose style rather than numbered steps. However, I found them easy to follow as they are set out in a nonsense here's what you need to know fashion.
The recipes range from cupcakes, cheesecakes and key lime pie to savoury pies, mulled wine, brown bread and jams.
The back of the book hosts a convenient index which is useful and easy to use.
The proof of any cookbook must of course be in the pudding or the final creation and nigella really does deliver. Her chocolate brownies are divine and now by baking staple when I need to take cakes to work/parties etc. The recipe us easy to follow and the ingredients are all easily sourced at my local shop.
My only critiscism would be that there is not a picture of every recipe, I like having a visual image to aim for or a guide that it has all gone wrong!
I'm the first person to admit, that I'm not a fan of Nigella Lawson. Whenever I see her on TV there's something about her that infuriates me. It's the way she makes cooking look so slutty. She can't go an episode without lowering her cleavage onto a steaming pan or sucking her finger like it's her husband's birthday and making ridiculously fake sounds to accompany. The Hollywood porn industry must be DESPERATE to get Nigella on their books, she fakes it like the best of them. How a woman can get so excited about a tin of Berlotti beans is beyond me - each to their own I suppose.
Added to this, it doesn't appear that she's actually capable of cooking. She's constantly citing other chefs as the source of a recipe, even when she does cook her own food, it rarely sounds appetising. I lost even more respect for the woman when she did that god-awful programme about cooking with tinned foods. It was like soft porn, a good 40% of that show was her bending over in the pantry picking up a tin of potatoes that she'd go on to throw into a pan before swooshing her hair back and then chopping up some parsley.
I received this book as an ironic gift, men who bake and all that nonsense. I didn't heed the book much attention until one day when I was waiting for something to cook and decided I'd have a flick..... thankfully the book was a lot less slutty than Nigella on TV.
She's divided this book up into sections, each one a bit of domestic bliss; cakes, biscuits, puddings, pies, chocolate, children, Christmas, bread. Just be thankful that she's not included a DVD of the bread kneading!
On the whole, the recipes are good. They're not too complicated or showey. Just the kind of things you might actually wish to make at some stage. By this point you've probably noticed that the majority of the sections are sweet and baking related. This is very much the core of the book. There isn't too much savoury food in there.
My favourite recipe is the 'Torta Alla Gianduia' , it's a wonderful creation with nutella that works surprisingly well. I'm yet to have a bad recipe from this book. Some of them take a bit of .... faith shall we say. At times things look a bit messy like they wont work, but persevere and all becomes good and well. I think the recipes have definately been tested extensively compared to most of these mass produced celeb books.
Strangely enough, the book isn't adorned with many pictures. There's on average, about 1 photo for every 4 recipes. A little lacking compared to other cookery books, then again, I'm sure dear Nigella can only pull so many excited faces in one day. I find it a little difficult with this kind of book if theres no pictures. I tend to cook the things WITH pictures. Clearly we all know what a victoria sandwich should look like, but when its a recipe for one of her own creatons, it can be a bit of a leap of faith to make it and guesstimate what the result should be .
On the whole I think it's a pretty good guide to baking the homely treats we all love, there are better BAKING books out there, but this feels a little different, I actually surprised myself liking her writing style, shes a remakably educated lady despite the sex noises. I don't feel it's really a book about being a "domestic goddess" though, if they even exist. From the title I thought it was going to be half cookbook, half cleaning manual, half karma sutra. Maybe a little too much to expect from her. . . A section on dinner-party food would have been nice however, or just general entertaining.
Love her or loathe her, Nigella's here to stay just like her marmite spaghetti is. This books actually rather okay, perfect for any aspiring kitchen goddess. The food is simple enough and the sorts of things people love to eat. Certainly it's a lot easier to follow the recipes in print than it is on the telly!
I received Nigella Lawson's How to be a Domestic Goddess back last year as a birthday present. It was around the time I'd bought my first house and just starting to experiment more with cooking. Having quite a sweet tooth this tended to be more baking than anything else. Thinking back this must have been my first ever cook book. I must admit it is definitely still one of my favourites even now after my collection has multiplied by about 10!
For those who have seen Nigella's cookery programme, her food always look mouthwatering and lush! How to be a Domestic Goddess was actually Nigella's second book in 2000. She has since gone on and published a number of successful cookery books including "Nigella Bites" and "Kitchen, Recipes from the heart of the home".
Something I didn't know about Nigella is that she wasn't a professional cook. When looking up some of her books I came across her first one called "How to Eat". She describes herself not as a chef but instead as a professional eater. I quite like this as it gives you a bit more confidence that if she can cook all this wonderful and gorgeous food then with some practice perhaps I can too.
Nigella has this very relaxed approach to cooking even on her cookery shows you see her embracing food. She is definitely not afraid of the high calorie and high fat content of her recipes. You really would expect her to be about twice the size with all the comfort food she cooks and eats!
Nigella describes this book not as a baking book but instead a book about baking. The book itself is nicely laid out with a very brief introduction about equipment and ingredients before diving straight into the recipes. Similar to the layout of other cook books this one has been split into a number sections typically cakes, biscuits, pies, puddings, chocolate and breads and yeast. There is also a section for Children, Christmas and a Domestic Goddess Larder.
The children's section is a nice touch as it gives you nice recipes that are quite easy to make with children in mind. Obviously this isn't restricted to children. I have tried the banana muffins and the rocky road both which have been loved by adults and children. I am also very tempted to have a go at making the peanut butter squares!
The Christmas section is not large, it gives you your well known traditional recipes such as the mince pies and Christmas cake. It also gives you some other ideas for Christmas or alternatives to these traditional treats. Such as Italian spicy fruit cake called certosino and frangipane mince pies!!!
The Domestic Goddess Larder is again a nice touch for something a little more than just baking. There are a variety of recipes for things like curds, pickles, jams and chutneys. I must admit I haven't yet had a go at these mainly because its not something I would usually use in my house. None the less the recipes do look and sound lovely.
I would probably say the only downside to this book is that not all of the recipes have a photograph. The photographs that are in the book are obviously gorgeous, its just a shame that all the recipes don't have one. I like to have pictures to be able to compare the end product to see whether it looks the same.
The recipes are laid out well and have simple instructions. Some of the recipes do look a little daunting and complex as some do have large lists of ingredients but it is worth it. The instructions are really clear so it can be done. I must admit I have surprised myself with some of the recipes, the Christmas cake being one of them. It looked a lot more complex than it actually was.
The best thing about this book is that Nigella makes it extremely personal. I often wonder how people come about recipes in cookbooks or how they decide what should be included. In this book Nigella introduces every recipe with a paragraph or two. It may be an explanation on where the recipe originated from, why she likes it so much or even just a personal experience about the recipe. I think this is a really nice touch which makes the book and food feel really comforting and homely.
I thought I might include some of my favourites that I have come across in the book so far. Obviously I haven't had a go at every single recipe but there are a couple in the book that I keep going back to.
The first one being what she calls the Autumnal Birthday Cake which is exactly what I have used it for. I can't make my mind up if its the cake or the icing which makes this extremely tasty or just a combination of both. I will admit there is a lot of high calorie food that goes into the cake which if you think too much about will probably put you off it. Its probably best to eat once or twice a year otherwise you will definitely be the size of a house.
The welsh cake recipe is actually a new addition to my favourites list. I realise there isn't anything special or unique about a welsh cake however I made these the other day for my other half. He being welsh likes to think himself as a welsh cake expert taster with his mums welsh cakes as you would expect being the best. In the past I have tried other recipes and although he would never complain he would always suggest it needed something else. I made the welsh cakes last week using Nigella recipe and was really pleased to receive an 8/10 which for him and welsh cakes I am over the moon with! He's even asked if I'll make him some more!
The RRP for the book is £17.99 (paperback) however on Amazon you can buy it new for around the £11 mark.
I used to like Nigella.
Don't get me wrong, I still love her food, she just grates on my nerves a lot recently.....is it just me or does she exaggerate even more the oooo's and ah's and over the top descriptions of her ingredients. And yes, I know she's supposed to ooze sex appeal as she pours over her sausage casserole and is as intent on steaming up the viewers along with the kitchen, but does it really have to be so full on?
I suppose I'm talking more here of her Television programme in which the camera does little but close-ups on her rather ample, tightly clad breasts as she gets her fingers all messy whilst icing a chocolate cake and simply has to lick her fingers, all the while smiling that increasingly annoying smile and looking at the camera with a face that shows she has something else on her mind other than cooking....
But I digress....we're talking about her cookbook here - How to be a Domestic Goddess.
I must have had this book a good 5 years now when it retailed at 25 smackeroonies! It's now on sale at amazon for around 19 pounds, but you could always pick up a copy second-hand for a lot less.
The book itself is about baking.
It is divided into categories:
I've tried about a fifth of the recipies I would say and all have come out pretty well, on the whole.
Recipies I particularly enjoyed are:
Marzipan Fruit Cake - a proper fruit cake and a good and lighter alternative to a richer christmas cake.
London Cheesecake - which is a plain cheesecake topped with a layer of sour-cream, sugar and vanilla.
Torta Alla Gianduia - a chocolate nutella cake.
Danish Pastries - easy to make and extrememly good!
There is unfortunately only about one photo for every 3 or 4 recipies in the book. The pictures there are, are fantastic and I gravitate towards making them rather than an unphotographed recipie - as a result there are many recipies that I have not, and probably never will, try...
Anyway, whether you love or hate the woman, her food is always good and usually fairly fuss-free. The book is a nice quality hard-back and worth having on your shelf and dipping into from time to time.
How to be a domestic goddess - baking and the art of comfort cooking is a book primarily about baking but isn't just about cakes.
It is written in Nigella's own style and she has a page or so introduction to each of the chapters and also a paragraph about each recipe in which she explains why she has chosen the recipe and will give credit for the recipe to others and explain the motivation to including a particular recipe.
The chapters are cakes,biscuits, pies, puddings, chocolate, children, christmas, bread and yeast and the domestic goddess's larder. In many of the chapters are savoury recipes which makes it a more useful recipe book some of the recipes include small tomato tarts, cheese,onion and potato pies, Boxing Day egg and bacon pie all of which are firm favourites and like all the recipes I have tried all work very successfully.
The cakes have all tasted good and do fill the house with that lovely smell. I particulary like the variations that are given.
The store cupboard section is great and I have made jams and brown sauce for the first time. I have been surprised at how easy it was and how muchbetter it tastes than shop brought stuff.
I would recommend this book.
How To Be a Domestic Goddess was Nigella Lawson's second book after the success of 'How To Eat'. Originally published in 2000 it has gone on to be reprinted.
In the preface, Nigella explains that this is 'a book about baking, but not a baking book' in that she wants to encourage rather than instruct, and therefore make it a pleasure rather than a chore to try out these recipes. Each section has a short introduction by Nigella with her normal flowery prose where she talks emphatically about the type of food it refers to - there is nothing that you would really miss by skipping these bits.
Each section is split into subsections and each recipe has a short introduction where she refers to a particular memory or influence for its inclusion. She also provides a variation to some reciipes- a short set of instructions on how the standard recipe can be adjusted to incorporate different flavours. Unlike 'How To Eat' there are also a number of photographs that accompany the recipes.
First we have a 'cakes' chapter. The first subsection is on loaf and plain cakes and includes Madeira cake, almond cake, a great rosemary loaf cake and gateau Breton. Then onto filled and iced cakes which include Victoria sponge and more unusually courgette cake (?!). Next there are fruited cakes including cherry-almond loaf cake, banana bread (my absolute favourite in the book and and so easy to make), marzipan fruit cake, apple and walnut cake. Next she has a coupcake section, very timely but which completely pre-dated the current cupcake craze. Here she gives lots of examples about how they can be decorated also. Recipes included are burnt-butter brown-sugar cupcakes and carrot cupcakes with cream-cheese icing.
The next chapter is on biscuits. Recipes include rosebud madelines, macaroons, and savoury variations including Irish blue biscuits and hot disks ( a personal favourite which are described as a being a cross between tortilla chips and mini-poppadoms.). There are also scones, strawberry shortcakes, baklava muffins, welsh cakes and traditional American breakfast pancakes.
The next section is on pies. She begins the chapter by detailing how to prepare basic shortcrust and processor puff-pastry. Savoury pies include supper onion pie, pizza rustica(basically pizza in a pie), sausage and spinach pie (another favourite), steak and kidney pudding, Cornish pasties, lovely cheese,onion and potato pies. Sweet pies and tarts include Key Lime pie, rhubarb tart, baked summer fruit tart, double apple pie, peach cream pie.
Then onto puddings. Recipes include plum and pecan crumble, gin and tonic jelly (?!), steamed syrup pudding, custard, muscat rice pudding, calvados syllabub, profiteroles, a divine lemon-raspberry plate trifle (basically one that is served on a plate rather than a bowl) and various cheesecakes including New York cheesecake.
Next she takes us onto chocolate. These include a simply gorgeous dense chocolate loaf cake, store-cupboard chocolate-orange cake (the idea being that it is easy to make and you can largely find the ingredients in any kitchen cupboard - the orange coming from marmalade rather than fresh fruit), chocolate cheesecake, an unspeakably gorgeous chocolate mousse cake which I make on special occasions, chocolate-raspberry tarts, pain-au-chocolat pudding, brownies, and a number of chocolate based cupcakes.
The next chapter is 'children'; the idea being that these are recipes which can be cooked either with or for children (that said, do not imagine that this is a chapter that adults should ignore!). Recipes include buttermilk birthday cake, cut-out biscuits with icing, various fairy cakes, jam doughnut muffins, rocky road, amazing fudge and cinder toffee recipes, flapjacks,coca-cola cake and a favourite of mine - mint dominoes (basically chocolate mint creams). There is a subsection called 'cooking for the school fete' which features mini-cheesecakes, mini-pavlovas, millionaire shortbread and mini lime syrup sponges.
Following this we have a Christmas section. This includes a very detailed Christmas cake, also Christmas pudding, mince pies, mincemeat, Christmas cupcakes, mulled wine, baklava and Christmas-morning muffins. The savoury alternatives include a fantastic Boxing Day egg and bacon pie.
Next up we have a bread and yeast section. This includes 'essential' brown and white bread recipes, sourdough, bagels, flatbread, pizza dough, Norwegian cinnamon buns, processor Danish pastry and tarte tatin,
The last section is entitled "the domestic goddess's larder." These are essentially preserved condiments. Firstly she gives advice on how to effectively prepare and sterilise storage jars. Recipes include vanilla sugar (so simple and so useful in conventional baking), rhubarb schnapps, lime curd, various fruit jams and brown sauce.
I am a bit of a fan of Nigella and really enjoy digging this book out from time to time. She undoubtedly has great taste in recipes and has a keen eye for the truly indulgent. The recipes I have cooked form ths book have been surprisingly easy to follow given how complex some of them look. All have also come out really impressive, in-fact most of the cakes and desserts I cook time and time again come from this book. It is also a really nice book just to browse through from time to time.
That said, it does suffer from some of problems that other Nigella books have in that she does have a tendency to suggest key ingredients which are not necessarily easy to get hold off but are pricey in that they are not always likely to be components that you commonly put on the shopping list eg masala, Trex, 00 flour, Sauternes.
The photography as ever with Nigella books is fantastic and really shows the dishes off at their advertising best. Nigella's flowery voice is dominant throughout, so if you cannot stand the way she talks on her TV programmes - this is likely to irritate you here.
It is fair to say that she has picked a really good variety of recipes from a number of different sauces, some of which would actively encourage you to try different tastes and techniques if you are so inclined, but she does include a lot of traditional or twists-on-traditional dishes so as not to alienate a less confident reader.
For me, although I have my favourites which I will do time and time again I do feel that to a certain extent this book has been slightly succeeded by more conventional but no less impressive baking books, such as Rachel Allen's Bake (see my review), however this is still a solid, worthy, if non-essential addition to my cookbook collection.
This book is fantastic. I bought it a few years ago on a whim as a baking/cooking novice and I now have it permanently out on my book holder, ready for action at a moment's notice when called upon for my now very-well-known-in-the-office baking skills.
From cakes to bread to a whole chapter dedicated to chocolate, if you want to bake it, it's pretty much here. If on the odd occasion what I'm looking for hasn't been there, there's been something that I can use for a base and adapted it to make what I was aiming towards.
The content covers such a wide skill and occasion base too; there are basic recipes, such as Victoria Sponge or Christmas cookies, sumptuous ones including melting middle chocolate puds and down right showy ones like strawberry cream scones.
The only change I would make is that there are not as many pictures of the finished items as I would have liked, but as I am a very visual person, this might just be me.
Everything I have made has gone down well and I can honestly say that I have never had a culinary disaster when following the clear and easy to use directions. Each chapter represents different areas of baking (eg Christmas, Children, Cakes and Biscuits) and there is an introduction to each.
How To be A Domestic Goddess - Nigella Lawson....
THIS IS MY BIBLE!
I have always been one for baking cakes and working in an all women office environment most of us are cake orientated so this book has been of great help to me in recent times.
The book is basically a cook book that contains more items of the cake variety than anything else which is why it is the most looked at book in my house. It is in hardback format and the size is a little bit smaller than an A4 bit of paper. It was released in the year 2000 and published by Chatto & Windus London. It has a total of 374 pages making it a rather big and heavy book. The book is made up of various sections and all of them I have had good use from.
The sections of the book are as follows:
7.Bread and Yeast
8.The Domestic Goddess's Larder
My most used section has got to be the children's one as it has so many easy to make and fun to get involved in recipes. There is one especially good biscuit recipe in this section which Jack and I have adapted to add almond essence and green food colouring to make lovely tasting green T-Rex dinosaurs (we have a dino cutter as he is dinosaur crazy!).
I would say my next most used section is the cake section and one particular recipe here has got to be my all time favourite cake recipe. It is for a courgette cake and although it sounds very strange and I personally do not really like courgettes but in a cake they are truly something else. It is similar to a carrot cake but far superior as it is far more moist and having cashew nuts on top makes for a nice crunchy element. It has got to be one to try for anyone.
The Christmas section of the book was rather helpful when December came around and since reading this book I changed my mince pies over to having a star on the top and putting squeezed fresh orange into my pastry and this I find is a great improvement. It gives them a extra freshness and the little bit less of pastry makes for a lighter bite.
Another favourite (they all are) is the chocolate section where a chocolatey pudding type called Molten Chocolate Babycakes. This is a soft sponge pudding with a melted chocolate centre and they are remarkably easy to do and I seem to have perfected the art.
I find the whole book easy to follow and all the recipes are tempting to try out. The pictures all look wonderful and the recipes that I have done which have a picture in the book all look alike once made. I haven't completed all the recipes in the book but there is not really any ideas that I wouldn't consider. I will often try to bake something new and this is the book I do most of my new things from.
I would give it a very high recommendation and a top score of 5/5. It has a bit of something for everyone so is well worth a look!
Many thanks for taking the time to read.
I do hope this has been of some help/interest to you.
I absolutely adore Nigella's Feast book, i love the range of foods that she discusses, from all different backgrounds. But my true foodie passion lies in sweet things. I love cakes, anything containing chocolate, the sweeter the better! So this book - complete with glorious cupcake on the front really appealed to my sweet tooth!
Inside there is a fabulous range of treats, including not just sweet recipes, but also some savory too! Each recipe clearly written with love by Nigella. A woman who seems to love all food - and this is certainly conveyed in her writing style. You get the feeling that as soon as the photos were taken she and her team just ate everything!
My one criticism of this book, as with all her books really, is that some of the ingredients are rather obscure and not necessarily found in the commoners supermarket! Perhaps if you shop at a large Waitrose, or Harvey Nics, or Selfridges food hall then things are easier to find. But to be fair to her, she does often suggest alternatives for strange ingredients.
The beauty of Nigella's recipes is that anyone can have a go. They never seem out of reach in terms of instructions. Also you don't feel that she is expecting you to create some masterpiece with items forming a carefully constructed tower on the plate, drizzled with a coulis. No. These are simple, home comforts. If you get the pie out and bits of apple are bursting at the seams - you get the impression Nigella would dip her finger in and tell you what a great job you've done!
Addicted to Delia Smith I bought this book from the book seller - ie at a reduced price. I had been put off Nigella Lawson by her television programmes and thought her to be pretentious . However I love cookery books so took a chance on this one.
A book of cake, bread, biscuits and pies, the reader first notices that, well, it is a good read. Somehow each recipe comes with a back story to it and makes the book highly enjoyable - as well as useful. Just like Delia, you quickly learn that if you follow Nigella's instructions then everything works out fine - just as if she is holding your hand along the way.
I have used the book to make evrything from a wonderful almond cake (made from marzipan and with six eggs!) to Snickers and peanut butter muffins. Each time the cake produced has brought gasps of admiration and appreciation - indeed there is rarely a crumb left.
I have a hard back book which still looks good after years of use. If you want unusual, easy to follow, utterly sumptuous recipes then this is the book for you. Alternatively just pull up a chair and settle down for a cracking read - my cousin even had it as her bedtime reading!
This book just sums up Nigella! Its rich, exciting and glamarous! The photography is great, colourful, fun and intrigues you! The recipes can be quite extravegant, some of the ingredients arent neccesarly what you might have in your store cupboard, but having said that alot of the unusual ingredients, such as, rose wate, which you will see pops up rather alot in the book, is quite easy to come buy in most supermarkets! I have cooked most of the recipes in this book and most of the recipes are full-fat, indulgent and comfort foods! Its most deffinatly not the book to purchase if the New Year is one for low fat, simple food! This book is the one I use when I am in need of some homely, who cares about the calories day! Its every homemakers dream book and you can gurantee whoever you endever to flatter with these recipes they will be putty in your hands! Fun book!
A confession first - I don't actually like Nigella in her TV incarnation. At least, I don't think I do - it's been a long time since I brought myself to watch. I find her voluptuous simpering a bit much, and although I'm a big fan of the the theory that food should be enjoyable, she takes the whole food porn thing a bit too far for my liking. This is not just chocolate cake - this is orgasm-inducing chocolate cake, etc: not for me.
So I wouldn't have bought this book, but clearly friends knew me better than I knew myself, as two different people bought me this for Christmas one year, and I have to say it has really grown on me - to the extent that it is now my baking book of first resort. If you don't have such obliging friends, then it is currently available in paperback from Amazon for £12.72 (slightly odd amount!) My Christmas cake is Nigella's Christmas cake - although I haven't risen to her levels of artfulness when it comes to icing, and my oven currently holds 3 beautiful rounds of chocolate meringue in readiness for the gooey chocolate stack for my son's birthday tea. This afternoon friends and I will be tucking into her Christmas buns - just reading this makes me realise quite how much Nigella has taken over my life.
Nigella's concept of domestic goddessdom revolves very much around baking, and I'm happy to go with that, although I do tend to skip over her gushing prose. The recipes are clearly set out and easy to follow, and many (although not all) are illustrated with photographs, which I like. I think it's useful to know what you are aiming for, although I do find it frustrating that my cupcakes (a Nigella staple) are always a bit volcanic on top and I never end up with her perfect flat icing.
The book is divided into sections comprising: Cakes; Biscuits; Pies; Puddings; Chocolate; Children; Bread and Yeast and The Domestic Goddess's Larder. Looking through the book again for this review, I was surprised to discover that it isn't just about sweet baking, as that is what I always go to it for, but the Supper Onion Pie looks definitely worth a try. Still, it's the Christmas section that I return to again and again, and I recommend that you do too. As well as being my preferred Christmas cake, there are recipes for sweet mincemeat, with and without suet, several different mince pies, and some Christmas staples from other countries too, such as certosino, and stollen. Something for everyone. The Christmas buns are a triumph too, although they don't look too promising uncooked.
Most 'celebrity' chefs are all about what they call healthy eating - meaning low calories and a balanced diet. What I like about Nigella Lawson is that she advocates healthy eating but through indulgence, and her 2000 book How To Be A Domestic Goddess has a well earned place on our shelves. The edition we have is from 2003.
The book emphasises that it is about comfort eating and baking, and is divided into a number of sections. A short intro impresses on us the importance of remaining as 'domestic' as possible when cooking, and to focus on the enjoyment of cooking and eating, before giving us some lists and advice on equipment, ingredients, and a conversion chart.
Cakes is the first section, and contains a number of gorgeous delights. We haven't really scratched the surface of these, but there seem to be many that we would like to try at some point but we never get round to it. However, the Butterscotch Layer Cake is probably my recommendation from the few that we have tried.
Next up in Biscuits, which seems strange to have its own sections, but Nigella explains in its intro that it is a good place to start to learn about cooking, and also includes scones and muffins, etc. We have yet to try her recipe for scones, but some of the biscuits are worth giving a go.
The Pies section first deals with the pastry bases, before moving on to savoury and then sweet. There are some really easy but brilliant recipes in here, and it is perhaps the section we have used the most, from making a pastry pizza, to Steak and Kidney Pudding (although we omitted the kidney as my wife doesn't like them!). It is a versatile section, dealing with large and small pies and also tarts.
The Puddings section is next, and it is worth considering that if you can't find what you're looking for in here, it may have appeared in the previous section, particularly if you're looking for Apple Pie or something similar. These puddings are quite diverse, and I have learnt what a Boy-Bait and a Grunt are!! There are indulgent puddings here, and it's no secret that many regard puddings as Nigella's forte. The Steamed Syrup Sponge is fantastic, and for those of you who like a wee nip of gin, the G&T Jelly is a surprisingly success.
Now then, the bit most people like Nigella for - the Chocolate section! Nigella shows us how diverse and creative you can be with chocolate, starting with the Chocolate Loaf Cake (oh my!), before going through a plethora of additional ingredients to make varying cakes and sponges, custards and even a chocolate cheesecake (yet to try this but near the top of the list!). My wife regularly uses NIgella's recipe for making chocolate brownies. As far as I'm concerned, she can carry on using that recipe until the world runs out of choc!
The next section caters for children, but whereas other recipe books may contain different easy and healthy meals for kids, this one has fun and creative sweeter snacks and cakes and biscuits to make. We haven't really tried any of these as yet, but with Easter looming we're going to give her Easter Nests recipe a go with our 5 year old son's 'help' if you can call it that!
There is then a section entirely devoted to Christmas, which examines various different traditional yuletide recipes, with her own twist on them. We don't usually cook much at Xmas, we both work up until the day and then are all over the place with grandparents, etc, so the kitchen isn't really where we spend a lot of time (or money!) However, there are some enticing recipes in there, and there's nothing stopping you from trying some at other times of the year. I'm particularly intrigued by the Boxing Day Egg-and-Bacon Pie!!!
As this is a book relevant to baking, although not about baking itself, Nigella does devote a section towards the end to bread and yeast, explaining how to make homemade breads of all different kinds, from loaves to bagels and even pizza and tart bases. Occasionally we follow her guidelines for bread, and there's nothing better than the smell of homemade bread on a sunny day for me!
The last main section deals with what she personally lkes doing and having in terms of food. There are quite a few recipes for preserving fruits and making brandies, curds and jams, pickles and chutnies, and it's almost an accompaniments or condiments section.
What I like about this book is that Nigella doesn't try and educate us to eat better or to understand the properties and innermost working of food. Instead, she encourages us to enjoy cooking and eating it, no matter how healthy or 'unhealthy' it may seem. The layout of the book is very user-friendly, with the majority of recipes having a good sized picture of the finished product, and clear to follow instructions and ingredients lists. The colours are vibrant and well spaced, nothing is crammed in, and it makes it a delight to use as a book.
Our copy is well thumbed, much more so than other cook books we have on the shelf. We love using it, even if it does mean repeating what we cook as opposed to perhaps trying newer things she suggests. However, comfort cooking is the aim, and I'm sure that if a few of the recipes is what gets us enjoying cooking and eating, she'll feel she's succeeded.
If you're looking for healthy eating recipes and balanced diets, low calories and constructed meals for kids, go look somewhere else. If you want to have fun in your kitchen and explore the wonders of making and baking while your mouth drools, then this is the book for you.
Nigella Lawson's How To Be A Domestic Goddess currently retails at around the £15 mark, although you cna pick it up a bit cheaper on amazon and second hand copies drop to under £10. have a look round charity shops, too. I have seen one or two here and there for around the £5 mark.
Let me start by saying I want to be like Nigella Lawson - every time I see her on the TV I think I want her life, I want her house and most of all I want her amazing kitchen and that walk-in larder. THIS is the book that makes me feel like I could achieve that dream - even if it is in a two-bed London flat with a relatively small kitchen! When I cook the recipes from this book, especially the brownies which are to die for, I honestly believe that I CAN be a domestic goddess too.
The book concentrates on baking so is mostly cakes, puddings, breads and the occasional tart or pie. In the introduction, Nigella writes about the satisfaction that you get from making a cake, or baking your own bread, and I think that is the whole point of the book - yes, you could go out and buy cakes but when you make them yourself the sense of achievement you get is so much better. It is divided into chapters - Cakes, Biscuits, Pies, Puddings, Chocolate, Children's, Christmas and Bread and Yeast - which makes it easy to find what you are looking for.
The recipes are well-written, easy to follow and (mostly) idiot-proof - I have had one disaster with a cake failing to rise, but I've made it again since and it was perfect, so I won't blame the recipe. There are a good range of recipes for people with varying levels of confidence in the kitchen, ranging from a traditional Victoria sponge through to more complicated puddings, a mouth-watering array of chocolate recipes, an excellent Christmas section and a wide range of savoury pies and home-baked bread.
Nigella's writing style feels warm and friendly, like you are sitting down in her kitchen with a glass of wine and a slice of homemade cake. It's a chatty, yet informative style, which makes the book very easy to read and really draws you into wanting to try out new things.
The photos of the finished recipes are lovely and inspire you to cook the recipes. It is a book that is enjoyable to flick through over a cup of tea, just browsing and thinking about what you would like to make, and I think the photography is a major part of that. I just wish my finished baking looked like the photographs!
I've already mentioned the brownies, but they are excellent. They are very simple to make and taste sensational - I am constantly being asked to make them again! I can also recommend the star-topped mince pies (very quick and simple, and easy to make with children!), the Victoria sponge, the store-cupboard Chocolate Orange Cake, the Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes and the Blue Cheese Biscuits. The section on Children is very good for baking with your kids - I have made the biscuits and cornflake cakes with my toddler and he really enjoyed helping me.
Overall, this is a great book and one I come back to over and over again. I would definitely recommend it, especially if you don't already have a baking book.
Reveals simple baking methods that allow one scale the heights of popularity.