Book Review: Nigella Lawson's Kitchen

If Jamie’s Ministry of Food is the perfect book to buy when you’re starting out (see my previous review), this is what I recommend you graduate to next. Kitchen is packed full of deliciously tempting recipes that range from easy (Egg & Bacon Salad – glorious) to impressive (the supremely elegant Grasshopper Pie), and from sublime (Sweet & salty nut crunch bars – so, so much more than they sound, and powerfully addictive) to ridiculous (Marmite Spaghetti – don’t ask, just try it).

The easy recipes are guaranteed to join your list of Sunday night favourites, as Nigella has a gift for glorious shortcuts. Seriously – the Marmite Spaghetti is heaven on a plate, for a grand total of three ingredients and ten minutes’ work (five minutes if you get some quick-cook pasta). And when you’re entertaining someone you need to impress – we all know the feeling, even with people you really like – there are some cracking recipes in here that will stretch you just the right amount. The desserts are particularly good in this respect.

The layout of the book is great as well. It’s divided into sections according to what sort of meal you want – crowd-pleasers, quick dishes, comfort food, store-cupboard classics – and after the majority of recipes there’s a great little section giving you cunning suggestions on how to make the leftovers into a different meal the next day. Finally, there’s an ‘Express index’ at the back which contains only the meals that take 30 minutes or less to make; the perfect go-to guide when you don’t have much time but you want something a bit more substantial than beans on toast.

This is one of those recipe books that spends more time on my coffee table than on the bookshelf, since I love to flick through it in front of the telly (the photos alone are great for a bit of culinary lèche‑vitrines – the French word for window-shopping, literally ‘window-licking’). Invest in this one and I guarantee you’ll get your money’s worth.