Nigella’s Cook, Eat, Repeat episode 1: Nigella shares the rhythms and rituals of her kitchen and reveals the inspiration behind many of her recipes.
Starting with her take on the bhorta, a dish of fried and mashed vegetables favoured in the Indian subcontinent, to which she introduces a very British – but very familiar – ingredient.
The surprises don’t stop there. After creating a warm, spicy and aromatic dish of lamb shanks with wide noodles, Nigella turns her attention to very ripe bananas, which she uses to make a gloriously rich and gooey chocolate tahini pudding, and then goes on to create a warming curry with a surprising ingredient.
Nigella’s Cook, Eat, Repeat episode 1
Nigella Lucy Lawson (born 6 January 1960) is an English food writer and television cook. She is the daughter of Nigel Lawson, a former Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Vanessa (née Salmon) Lawson, whose family owned the J. Lyons and Co. food and catering business.
She attended Godolphin and Latymer School, London. After graduating from the University of Oxford, where she was a member of Lady Margaret Hall, Lawson started work as a book reviewer and restaurant critic, later becoming the deputy literary editor of The Sunday Times in 1986. She then embarked upon a career as a freelance journalist, writing for a number of newspapers and magazines. In 1998 her first cookery book, How to Eat, was published and sold 300,000 copies, becoming a best-seller. She published her second book in 2000, How to Be a Domestic Goddess, which won her the British Book Award for Author of the Year.
In 1999 she hosted her own cooking show series, Nigella Bites, on Channel 4, accompanied by another best-selling cookbook. Nigella Bites won Lawson a Guild of Food Writers Award; her 2005 ITV daytime chat show Nigella met with a negative critical reaction and was cancelled after attracting low ratings. She hosted the Food Network’s Nigella Feasts in the United States in 2006, followed by a three-part BBC Two series, Nigella’s Christmas Kitchen, in the UK, which led to the commissioning of Nigella Express on BBC Two in 2007. Her own cookware range, Living Kitchen, has a value of £7 million, and she has sold more than 3 million cookery books worldwide to date.
Fish finger bhorta
“I am so grateful to the political journalist Ash Sarkar for this new love in my life. Up until now, I had thought the fish finger found its greatest expression in a fish finger sandwich, which for all my expounding on the subject, I don’t consider the stuff of recipes; the fish finger bhorta is a different matter entirely.”
- Make your pink-pickled onions as far in advance as you can: at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours. Place the red onion in a jar with a lid, or simply into a bowl that you can cover. Pour over the red wine vinegar (or lime juice), pressing down on the onions until they are all just immersed. Put the lid on the jar or cover your bowl, and leave the onions to steep.
- When you’re ready to make the bhorta, preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7. Put the fish fingers on a baking tray and cook for approximately 20–25 minutes, which may be slightly longer than the packet directs, but ensures the breadcrumb coating is really crisp.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan (I use a wok-shaped stir-fry pan). Cook the onions over a medium–low heat for 20 minutes, stirring regularly, until pale gold and soft. Add the chillies and cook for 3 minutes, stirring all the while. Stir in the ginger and garlic and cook, still stirring, for another 2 minutes. Spoon in the mustard and salt, stirring to combine. Add the spinach and allow to wilt in the pan for 2–3 minutes, stirring regularly, then squeeze in the lime juice.
- Take the pan off the heat while you get the fish fingers. Break them up a bit with a spatula and then add to the pan. Toss everything together, breaking them up further and mashing them into the pan, then sprinkle over the coriander.
- Serve topped with the pink-pickled onions and extra coriander, if wished.