“ Author: Nigella Lawson / Format: Paperback / Genre: Celebrity Chef Cookbooks /Title: Nigellissima / ISBN 13: 9780701188641 / ISBN 10: 0701188641 / 288 Pages / Book is published 2012-09-13 by Chatto & Windus / Alternative title: Nigellissima: Instant Italian Inspiration / Alternative ISBN 10: 0701187336 „
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Nigellissima is Nigella Lawson's 9th cookery book. Twelve years after "How To Eat" was published, Nigella shows that she can still enrapture the everyday cook with scrumptious food that's easy to prepare and delightful to eat. However, if you're looking for genuine Italian cookery, beware: by her own admission, this isn't quite authentic Italian food; rather it's Nigella's own take on it which, frankly, is just as good as the real thing as far as I'm concerned. In the few weeks since its publication I've already made more recipes from this book than from, say, Giorgio Locatelli's "Made in Italty" which is twice the size and offers recipes that are considerably more authentically Italian. Nigellissima works because the recipes are simple - just as Italian cooking should be - rather than complicated and expensive like the Locatelli book.
Like her more recent books, the majority of recipes are illustrated so that you can see precisely what you're making before you start and, should you be unfamiliar with a particular dish, you can make a more informed decision about whether to make it or not. This does perhaps give the impression that the book is packed with more recipes than it actually is but really, there are plenty to choose from. Each recipe is introduced with an explanation of the dish, its background or simply how it should be served and eaten. As usual, Nigella writes in such a warm, familiar way, it's almost like she's in the kitchen with you and, truthfully, I find this far more genuine than her TV persona which can sometimes be a little like a performance. If the look of a recipe isn't enough to persuade you to make it, the introduction often tips the balance.
The book groups recipes into sections, beginning with Pasta and followed by a rather evocative title of "Flesh, Fish & Fowl" before moving onto Vegetables and Sides and then desserts and cakes. Happily, the final chapter is "An Italian-Inspired Christmas", supplementing the delicious recipes in "Nigella Christmas" with further delights for the festive season. At 250+ pages, there is plenty of choice in each chapter, and despite my best efforts, I couldn't find one that seemed too difficult, time consuming or unappealing. For me, a cookery book isn't complete without a section of puddings and, of course, Nigella happily obliges with a variety of cakes and desserts - some of which are quite unusual, such as a Chocolate Olive Oil cake: perhaps not a recipe which goes back hundreds of years but it's easy to see how Nigella's taken the humble chocolate cake and Italianified it, transforming it into something moist and delicate.
The only thing I dislike about this book are the notes: in earlier books, notes accompanied recipes concerning variations or freezing guidelines. In Nigellissima, the notes are in an appendix which means flicking backwards and forwards for extra tips. However the notes themselves are useful and do supplement the recipes effectively, perhaps begging the question of why they weren't included in the recipes in the first place.
Overall Nigelissima is a pleasure to read and a pleasure to cook from. Like so many of her books it's one I know will end up battered and bruised through overuse: just how cookery books should be.