Nigella’s Cook, Eat, Repeat episode 2: Once again, Nigella weaves her kitchen magic and shows how, with a little advanced planning and a minimal amount of effort, it is easy to produce delicious food.
Nigella starts with a fluffy, white, no-knead bread, which she uses to sandwich her crispy fried chicken, accompanied by pickles and kimchi. Nigella then takes the fear out of making a fish stew, accompanied by a fragrant tomato base full of the warming flavours of mace, cinnamon and nutmeg. A daring dish of cherry flambe follows, using frozen cherries and kirsch, served up with her frozen cheesecake ice cream.
Nigella’s Cook, Eat, Repeat episode 2
Fear-free fish stew
I know a lot of people are hesitant about cooking fish, and I do understand why, but this, my friends, is the recipe to allay your anxieties and free you from fear. Your fissues will be a thing of the past.
- Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan or casserole (I use one that is 22cm/8½in in diameter). Add the onion to the pan and cook gently for about 20 minutes, until it’s beginning to soften and colour. Add the orange zest, garlic, coriander stalks and ginger. Stir everything over a gentle heat, then add the spices. Tip in the sweet potato and stir over a medium heat for a minute or so. Add the tinned tomatoes, half-fill the empty tins with 400ml/14fl oz water and swill out into the pan. Spoon in the tomato purée and add the salt and honey. Add the orange juice and give everything a good stir.
- Bring to the boil, clamp on the lid, turn the heat right down and leave to simmer for 40–45 minutes until the sweet potato is completely soft and the sauce has thickened slightly. You can do all of this in advance, heating up again when you are ready to cook the fish.
- Add the fish to the simmering sauce. Turn the heat down and put the lid on. Depending on how chunky or cold the fish is, it should take 3–5 minutes to cook in this gentle heat. Remove the pan from the heat, take off the lid and leave to stand for a further 2 minutes.
- Sprinkle the coriander leaves over the stew and serve with the black venus rice.
Fried chicken sandwich – Nigella’s Cook, Eat, Repeat episode 2
‘Fried’, ‘chicken’ and ‘sandwich’: three alluring enough words on their own; together, they promise pure, unbridled pleasure. And, frankly, that’s the only kind of pleasure I’m interested in.
- Make your pink-pickled onions in advance: at least 2 hours, and up to 24. Put the onion into a jar or bowl and cover with the vinegar (or lime juice), pressing down on the onions. Cover and leave the onions to steep.
- Pour the kefir, buttermilk or yoghurt into a small dish and stir in the ½ teaspoon of paprika, ½ teaspoon of salt, lemon juice, mustard, maple syrup and garlic. Add the chicken and turn to coat in the marinade. Cover the dish, then leave in the fridge for at least 4 hours or up to 2 days. (If you simply cannot wait that long, leave the chicken out on the kitchen counter for 20–40 minutes.)
- Take the chicken out of the fridge in good time to get to room temperature before you start to cook it.
- Mix the flour with the remaining ¼ teaspoon each of paprika and salt in a shallow dish. Lift the chicken out of the marinade, but don’t try and shake it off. Dredge both sides of the chicken in the seasoned flour, then dip briefly back into the marinade and dredge again. This double-dredging is essential to get a thick, shaggy coating. You can leave the coated chicken in the flour dish until you fry.
Method part 2
- Mix the garlic mayonnaise with the chilli oil and honey, and spread over both sides of a split burger bun (or a couple of slices of bread). Put a plate lined with kitchen paper by (but not dangerously near) the hob, if you want to get rid of any excess fat once the chicken’s cooked.
- Pour enough oil into a deep, heavy-bottomed saucepan to come about 3½cm/1⅓in up the sides. Heat until a small piece of bread becomes golden and crisp almost instantly; if you have a food thermometer, you want the fat to be at 190°C when the chicken goes in. (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.) Using tongs, gently lower the chicken into the hot oil, and cook for 3–4 minutes on each side, until the coating is deep gold and very crisp and the chicken is completely cooked through. Drain on the paper-lined plate and leave to stand (for a couple of minutes) while you shred some iceberg lettuce and get out your pickles.
- Put a handful of lettuce on the mayo on the bottom of the bun, top with the fried chicken, add kimchi and pink-pickled onions, scatter with a bit more lettuce and squidge on the top of the bun. Go in cautiously: I have more than once burned my mouth.
No-churn cheesecake ice cream with cherries jubilee
You could, of course, serve this heavenly ice cream without the flambéed cherries. I’ve suggested freezing it in two tubs (rather than a 1 litre/1¾ pint one) so you can keep a tub stashed in the freezer for emergencies and pull one out to serve with this cherry topping, which is plenty for four.
- To make the ice cream, stir the condensed milk into the cream and whisk until soft peaks form, then carry on whisking as you add the lemon and lime juice and the advocaat. Spoon into 2 x 500ml/18fl oz tubs and freeze for 6 hours or overnight. Remember to take it out of the freezer 10–20 minutes before serving.
- To make the cherries jubilee, put the frozen cherries, sugar and lemon juice in a wide, heavy-based saucepan, put the lid on and cook for 3 minutes over medium–low heat, then remove the lid and carry on cooking gently until the cherries are hot, and have exuded a pool of deep red juice.
- Now for a spot of flambéing. Turn off the heat under the pan, measure out the kirsch or your chosen liqueur and then put the bottle safely away from the hob. Throw the liqueur into the pan and quickly, using a long match and standing at arm’s length, set fire to the surface where you’ve just added the alcohol, and swirl the pan. It will flame only briefly, but when the last of the fire has flickered out, pour the cherries and their juices into a heatproof bowl, and let people spoon this over ice cream.
Chocolate tahini pudding with tahini cream and date molasses
A warm, soft and squidgy pudding cake, this is both embracingly cosy and almost regally sumptuous.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Get out an ovenproof dish with a capacity of about 750ml/1¼ pint; mine is 18cm/7in in diameter and 5cm/2in deep.
- Mash the bananas in a large bowl, either by hand or using an electric mixer. Then beat in the oil followed by the tahini and then the yoghurt. Beat in the egg, then the sugars and vanilla.
- Whisk or fork together the flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a bowl and slowly beat into the cake batter. When you can no longer see any specks of white, fold in the chocolate chips with a bendy spatula, which you can then use to scrape the runny batter into the ovenproof dish. Cook for 40–45 minutes, depending on whether you want it to have a gooey molten centre or not. Once it’s out of the oven, leave to stand for 5–10 minutes.
- Lightly whip the tahini and double cream together in a bowl and serve with the pudding, along with a generous drizzle of date molasses. Dive in for that first squidgy spoonful.
Wide noodles with lamb shank in aromatic broth – Nigella’s Cook, Eat, Repeat episode 2
While I could never have a recipe in any book I wrote that I didn’t love inordinately, this is just one of those special ones that fills me with a sense of glad-hearted awe. It’s not too much to claim for it: it’s almost ridiculously easy to make – I relish the quiet ceremony of its slow-cooking preparation – and it’s both comforting and enlivening to eat.
You do need to plan for it, as the gorgeous broth has to be made a day in advance (longer if you want), but it’s a very straightforward procedure once you’ve got the key ingredients in stock.
- Preheat the oven to 150C/130C Fan/Gas 2. Pour 1 litre/1¾ pint of cold water into a small casserole with a tightly fitting lid and stir in the gochujang paste until dissolved. Add the salt, allspice, cumin seeds and star anise. Now add the lamb shank to the pot and place over a medium heat.
- Add the ginger, carrot, garlic and shallots to the pot. Once everything’s in the pot, the lamb shank should be just covered. If it isn’t, add some more water. Bring to the boil then clamp on the lid and cook in the oven for 2–2½ hours, by which time the meat should be very tender indeed and ready to fall off the bone. Using tongs, transfer the lamb shank to a large bowl, then strain the liquid into a separate bowl, discarding the vegetables. Leave both the lamb and the stock to cool then chill in the fridge overnight.
- The next day, remove the solidified fat from the top of the liquid and shred the meat – not too finely, you don’t want stringiness. Place the meat in a small saucepan and pour over the liquid. Place the lamb mixture over a very low heat so that it warms gently, though you do want it to be piping hot by the time the pasta and cabbage are cooked.
- Meanwhile, bring some water to the boil in a large saucepan. When the water is boiling, add salt. Add the pappardelle and when it’s 3 minutes away from its full cooking time (check the packet for instructions), add the cabbage and stir well. When both cabbage and pasta are cooked, drain and divide between 2 noodle bowls.
- Using a slotted spoon, lift out the hot lamb and share between the two bowls, then ladle the broth on top. Add 1 teaspoon of crispy chilli oil to each bowl and take both bowls to the table, making sure you come back for the chilli oil so you can add more as you eat.