Cookbook Review: Nigella Kitchen by Nigella Lawson

My rating 4 stars

 by Cookie McBookie

Nigella is the perfect foodie – crumbs fall off her lips and ricochet off her massive bossoms back into her plummy mouth.

Her latest book is likewise well proportioned, sweet, high in fat, and very comforting.  This is the first cookbook I’ve had that I actually enjoyed “reading”. Loved the preface and the intro. She has a little blurb before all her recipes and unlike many other books, I actually bothered to read them.

She has a super engaging style and even though she uses some big words – eg “castigated”, “apoplectic”, and loves the word “dynamism” she still sounds really down to earth and like your cheeky best friend (who went to Oxford, is hideously beautiful and married a millionaire).

Confession: If you’ve read my About page, you will know this blog was inspired by a friend who tried a cookbook that didn’t “work” – well that cookbook was one of Nigella’s. So, the test kitchen today is like totally like life or death ya know?!

Now, being the bargain hunter that I am, I bought this book off US Amazon cos the Aussie dollar can like BUY THE WORLD right now. So, I used US cups to make this recipe. Note: US Nigella is wearing a blue sweater, Aussie Nigella is wearing a brown sweater.

I didn’t realise that English cups are generally bigger than American cups!!! (no sly references to Nigella’s bosoms intended here). So take care converting to grams if you buy a foreign edition.

The above is a photo of the fabulous Cook’s measure cup (shot is of the inside) that Kate, Kate, and Tina gave me – thanks ladies!

Sweet and Salty Crunch Nut Bars (adapted from Nigella Lawson)

  • 7 oz bittersweet chocolate (or 1 heaping cup chips) and
  • 4 oz milk chocolate (or 1/2 cup chips) (or 11 ounces milk chocolate instead)
  • 1 stick plus 1 tbl (9 tbls) unsalted butter
  • 3 tbls golden syrup
  • 2 1/4 cups salted peanuts
  • 6 oz honeycomb candy or 4 x1/4 ounce Crunchie bars
  • 1x 10 inch springform pan or 1 x rectangular aluminum foil pan approx 13 x 9 x 2 inches

Line your springform pan with aluminium foil or use a foil pan

Break up or chop the chocolate into pieces and drop into a heavy based saucepan. Add the butter and syrup, put on a low heat, and melt gently together (Note that I just did it all slowly in the microwave).

Tip the peanuts into a bowl and crush the honeycomb or Crunchie bars with your hands, letting the golden-glinting rubble fall into the nuts.

Take the melted chocolate mixture off the heat and stir in the peanuts and crushed honeycomb candy, then tip straight into the springform pan or foil pan. Smooth the top of the mixture as much as you can, pressing down with a silicone spatula or vinyl disposable gloved hand.

Put in the fridge for 4 hours and once set, cut into slices as desired.

OMG these bars went off like crack. They were so addictive and delicious and popular I thought my chocoholic friends would rip my arms off for more. My party guests went for these bars more than they did my intense slavishly made overprepared cakes!!! This was so easy to make and the pay off so huge I can’t believe it.

Most of Nigella’s recipes are basically stir shit up from the pantry or mix and chill. I highly recommend it for the novice cook as there are a lot more steps given than say a Donna Hay book. It seems simple but the recipe above shows that simple can still mean mind blowingly delicious!


Always shop around. I bought a US edition because it was a lot cheaper at the time from Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the HomeCooking, Food & Wine Books)

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  • March 10, 2011 - 11:06 pm | Permalink

    oh that looks dangerously good – and you can just imagine how much nigella would enjoy it! I like your description of reading the book – reminds me of first encountering How to Eat which I read from cover to cover – she is a writer as well as a cook which make her books such a joy!

    • Editor
      March 11, 2011 - 12:15 am | Permalink

      It was amazingly good and so simple. I’ll have to get How to Eat ASAP!!

  • Sheryl
    July 18, 2011 - 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Totally agree with you a fantastic book. I just love reading Nigella’s cookbooks but How to Eat is still my fav.
    I have all her cookbooks and have cooked at least a few things from each one so don’t know what book you could be referring to that didn’t work.

    • admin
      July 18, 2011 - 4:30 pm | Permalink

      Hi Sheryl
      It is a really stunning book. She writes so well! The Nigella book that started it off was “How to be a Domestic Godess” – did you have any problems with this?

      • Sheryl
        July 20, 2011 - 2:19 pm | Permalink

        Everything I have cooked from “How to be a Domestic Godess” has worked fine but now that you mention it my sister-in-law has tried a few things from it and not been impressed.
        Recipe testing is a funny thing. I read a recipe the other day that said to brown the chicken and remove from the pan but at no time did it say when to add it back or what to do with it!!

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