Saturday, 16 October 2010

Weekend with Nigella

Last weekend I realised that all my planned cooking projects were recipes from Nigella Lawson. So, without further ado, I present a weekend of cooking with Nigella (with bonus leftover dishes by me).

I've been enjoying the new series Nigella Kitchen on iplayer. I have my usual gripes about the pouting and peeping, the unrestrained hair, wearing a denim jacket to cook in (so uncomfortable!) and the overuse of some words (must we "tumble" "rubble" everywhere?). But even so I like her food, and I suspect she has enough insight and humour to view the sex-kitten persona as a bit of a laugh.

Nigella's food isn't original or earth-shattering. It is do-able and delicious and generally forgiving of tweaks.

Her mother's "praised" chicken was the first dish of the day. The recipe is on her website, but this computer has taken agin nigella.com so I can't link to it. Slightly flattened, then gently cooked with wine and aromatics, the chicken was incredibly tender and delicious, and the broth was wonderful. My only tweak was to use a portion of frozen mirepoix that I had stashed away, instead of chunky fresh vegetables.

I ignored the serving suggestion of pouring the chicken and broth over rice, and decided to make another one of Nigella's dishes, the rapid roastini. Basically bought gnocchi, rendered into miniature roast potatoes by cooking in some oil. I added some rosemary and garlic, and they were just gorgeous with the tender chicken.

Nigella's breakfast bars were my next venture. Oats, nuts, seeds and fruit bound with condensed milk and baked. Minor tweaks - I omitted the coconut and doubled the amount of fruit, using sour cherries and blueberries instead of the cranberries, and I used lightly salted roasted cashews and peanuts as the nuts. These bars are absolutely wonderful. Not as sticky as a flapjack, they have just the right degree of sweetness for my taste, and are very, very sustaining. I will definitely make these again. Although I will line my tin with baking paper next time - oiling it wasn't quite enough.

Something odd about the praised chicken - we ended up with much more leftover than we do normally roasting the same sized chook. So I had loads of lovely leftovers to eat during the week; a large bowlful of cold chicken and a big tub of jellied broth.

I stirfried some of the shredded meat with home made Thai Chilli Jam, then added some noodles cooked in some of the leftover chicken broth. I had some pickled beanshoots & beetroot on the side to tone down the spice a little.

I cooked some rice in some leftover broth, then added some chicken and broccoli. When it was tender, I pulled it off the heat and stirred in an egg, whisked with a handful of parmesan and the juice of a lemon, for a sort of avgolemono/stracciatella comforting bowl of soup. And I still had enough chicken leftover for a sandwich.

23 comments:

Jude said...

Brilliant! There is so much in that book I want to cook, with the possible exception of the Marmite spaghetti.

I will try the chicken and the roastini asap. Half term and a bit of space looms.

Suelle said...

A great weekend of food!

Interesting to know that the 'rapid roastini' works so well. I've always thought that gnocchi absorbed some water when boiled, and this was necessary to cook them properly. Obviously not. I may try it now that someone else has judged it a success!

Foodycat said...

Jude - I am intrigued by the marmite spaghetti!

Suelle - they don't expand the way boiled gnocchi do, and it takes a lot longer to cook, but they are a very tasty little morsel.

Su-Lin said...

How interesting that the same sized chicken went further with a different preparation! Very keen on this and Nigella's roastinis too - saw them on the telly but wasn't convinced but now I am!

C said...

Yum! All of that just looks fab, can I come round to yours?

My copy of the book is bristling with page markers, but I've yet to try anything - you may have pushed me to have another look at the pages I've marked.

Simona said...

A very nice set of dishes and I liked the way you used leftover chicken. Like the people who commented before me, I am intrigued by the rapid roastini idea and wonder how it would work with homemade potato gnocchi.

The Cat's Mother said...

My PC doesn't like Nigella's site either. Won't let me go there. You will have to post the recipes (both chook & slice)as I want to do both.

Foodycat said...

Su-Lin - interestingly, I noticed that Nigella comments on the chicken stretching further too.

C - I may have to buy the book.

Simona - I have panfried homemade gnocchi before, and they turn out beautifully crisp.

Mother - try these links http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/nigella-lawson/my-mothers-praised-chicken-recipe/index.html and http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=16301678

girlichef said...

Wow! Everything looks delicious. Those roastini are so intriguing...I just want a big plate of those alone. But yes...everything sounds fabulous ...like Nigella, herself. ;)

Esi said...

A weekend of cooking with Nigella sounds like a great weekend to me. I love her!

Foodycat said...

Heather - I could definitely eat a plate of roastini alone!

Esi - she has lovely hair, I just wish she'd tie it back when she cooks.

Sam said...

I do like Nigellas recipes, I think we're having Nigellas Christmas cake and Turkey this year.

I really must try the chicken and those rostini are brilliant!

Debinhawaii said...

I have been recording her new show but have not had a chance to watch it yet.

Everything you made looks really delicious -- I love the idea of the roastini and that soup looks wonderful.

Velva said...

You had the cooking spirit a/k/a/ "Cooking mojo". These Nigella dishes are delightful. Your leftovers are delicious too.

The Cat's Mother said...

Very good. Can't say that it made for more leftovers than usual. Maybe it was a smaller chicken? We did have second helpings though.

grace said...

neat gnocchi idea! man, i love nigella. not only is she a pleasure to watch, but her food is amazing. she loves food and it shows! great post. :)

Foodycat said...

Sam - I haven't tried any of her Christmas recipes.

Deb - I hope you get time to watch it.

Velva - thanks. I am a big fan of leftovers.

Grace - she really does reassure food-loving girls everywhere!

Emily said...

I'm loving her at the moment too. I have nigella express - which isn't so express because she likes to used packaged convenience products which I don't but there's still some fab recipes in there like some curries and the breakky bars. My breakky bars have been awesome for this week, so filling!

Foodjunkie said...

Nigella is great for simple, tasty food, that all of us cook in our everyday lives. I wish we got her show in Greece!

Joie de vivre said...

Those breakfast bars are speaking to my soul! I've only seen Nigella once on TV now but I liked her. However, I can see how she plays up the hair flips and the sultry looks to the camera. :)

Foodycat said...

Emily - I have planned an apricot and almond version of the breakfast bars for next week.

Jo - it is a shame that you don't!

Amanda - only once?! She really is great. I have a couple of her books and like them.

Heather said...

Love her or hate her, I gotta admire a woman with an ass as big as hers making it to "sex kitten" status (Christina Hendricks, too).

Isn't there just something about a pot full of chicken? It really hits my sweet spot.

hungryandfrozen said...

Funny that you had lots of leftovers, because she mentions that the Praised Chicken recipe seems to go a lot further than a regular roast chicken.

Glad to hear the roastini are delicious - I wasn't suspicious as such, just keen to get a second opinion. If you need another way to use up chicken, the Chinatown Chicken Salad is really, really good, made it for last night's dinner.

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