nigella kitchen

Week 30: Pasta alla Genovese

I know its a bit of a cop out, but my brain dribbled out of my ear as I chewed on the ears of my seventeenth Lindt bunny, so I chose this recipe purely because it was green.

Green just like the spring haha.  I have never cooked with Pesto before, or said the words “Ooo its got pesto in, I’ll have that”, so I thought it would be good to try something new.  And it meant I got to use the machine again…


As I read the ingredients list, I thought about getting garlic bread so I could pack all the carbs into one dish, but decided that the pasta and potatoes would be enough on their own.

To make this for 4 you will need: 500g floury potatoes (like King Edwards, cut up into half inch chunks), 500g linguine, 200g fine beans, 100g basil leaves, 100g grated Parmesan, 1 garlic clove, 100ml olive oil, and 100ml extra virgin olive oil.

You will need a large pan, filled with enough salted water to boil the potatoes and the pasta.  Put the potato chunks in and bring to the boil and boil for 20 minutes.

Add the pasta and boil for the length of time recommended on the packet and four minutes before the end, then throw in the beans.  Note: if you are using fresh pasta, boil the potatoes for 28-30 minutes and then put the beans in, put the pasta in so it will be cooked when everything else is done… use dried pasta.

Nigella says that for this dish you need to make the pesto yourself, in a blender!  Vroom!  While the pan is on with the potato and pasta put the basil leaves, Parmesan, garlic and oil into the mixer and blitz it until it looks like pesto… which is really hard to photograph.

Take half a cup full of the cooking water from the pan and then drain the potatoes, pasta and beans.  Off the heat return them to the pan and stir in the pesto and the cooking water and serve immediately.


I’m not entirely sure what I did wrong; it just didn’t really taste of anything.  My friend suggested that I’d not salted the water enough (I had) and I thought maybe my Parmesan wasn’t flavour-full enough.  While it smelled amazing and looked devine it was pretty bland so I don’t know if I’ll make it again.

And I still don’t totally see what all the fuss is about with pesto!


Kitchen, by Nigella Lawson (Chatto & Windus 2010, ISBN 9780701184605)

Nigella Kitchen

Week 29: Korean Keema

How terribly West London of me.  Ra Ra Raaa.  Haha.  This is a really quick recipe, but don’t set your heart on making it until you’ve tracked down some Gochujang… which I can spell but can’t say.


I found it in my local Thai Supermarket, Nigella says that at a push you could substitute any other chilli paste, and as a last result you could make your own by fermenting red chillies, rice, soybeans and salt in a jar under your house like the Korean’s did in the old days… but who has the time?

This is a brilliantly quick and tasty recipe for 2, but I reckon you could serve 3 slightly smaller portions and not be hungry.  You will need: 150g basmati or sushi rice, 250g turkey mince, 3 fat or 6 thin spring onions (chopped) 125g frozen peas, vegetable oil, rice wine, gochujang, honey, soy sauce, and coriander for scattering everywhere.

Start the rice cooking, following the instructions on the packet, and then boil the kettle.

In a mixing bowl whisk together 2 15ml tablespoons of gochujang, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon of rice wine, and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce.  This will make the most brilliant horror-film red sauce.  Tip the turkey mince in to this sauce and stir it.  Leave to steep for about 5 minutes.


While this is steeping chop up the spring onions and heat the wok.  Put the frozen peas in a sieve and pour the boiling water over them – let all the water drain away.  When the wok is hot add a teaspoon of vegetable oil and then the peas and spring onions.


Stir-fry the greens for 3 or 4 minutes and then add the turkey and the sauce.  Stir-fry this for another 4 or 5 minutes.  (By this time the rice should be done so you can strain it and get ready to serve up)

Make sure you’ve not washed the mixing bowl yet, pour in 2 tablespoons of rice wine and 4 tablespoons of water (I used it from the kettle because it was close and I’m clumsy) and swill out the saucy-winey residue from the bowl into the wok.  Stir fry for about 30 seconds until piping hot.  Serve immediately.


I made this two days running because I could only get the turkey mince in a 500g packet, and the second day I remembered to artistically scatter coriander over it – but it doesn’t really add anything to it and tastes just as good without.

This is an ideal recipe to cook after work, it’s quicker to make than read, it’s really filling and tastes delicious.  And the gochujang lasts for ages so fill yer boots!


Kitchen, by Nigella Lawson (Chatto & Windus 2010, ISBN 9780701184605)

Nigella Kitchen

Week 25: Roquamole and Mexican Scrambled Eggs

Two recipes in honour of it being week 25.

Continuing on from last week’s high-powered mixer madness, I thought it only right to have a go at Nigella’s Roquamole, to rev some more ingredients into a pulp; and my lover fancied the Mexican Scrambled Eggs – because we weren’t sure what a Quesadilla was!

Both recipes come from the Nigella Express book, and were really easy to make.  I’ve always been a fan of dipping things in guacamole, so the chance to combine guacamole with a big hunk of smelly cheese was too good to miss!  To make Roquamole for four hungry dippers you will need: 125g Roquefort (or St Agur), 60ml sour cream, 2 ripe avocadoes, 25g sliced pickled green jalepeno chilli peppers from a jar, 2 spring onions, and a quarter tsp of paprika.

First loosely mash the cheese with a fork, mix with the sour cream, and then mash in the avocados.  Roughly chop the jalapenos and finely slice the spring onions, and stir it in.

Spoon the Roquamole into a respectable dish and dust with the paprika.  Nigella recommends putting the bowl in the centre of a large dish and spreading the crisps round it – If I’d done this only my dog would have eaten crisps.  She also recommends blue corn tortilla chips to dip, but I couldn’t get them and wolfed it down with doritos instead.

Now for a confession:  I have never scrambled an egg before, and I don’t really like them.  So Mexican scrambled eggs seems a strange choice for dinner.  I liked the idea of it being more than just a wet yellow mess, so I thought I’d give it a go!

To make Mexican Scrambled Eggs for two you will need: vegetable oil, 2 soft corn tortillas, 1 tomato, 1 spring onion, 1 small green chilli (I used a jarred one from the Roquamole) 4 beaten eggs and a quarter teaspoon of Maldon Salt (or a pinch of normal salt)

First de-seed and chop up the tomato and chilli, and roughly chop the spring onion.  Then heat 2 tablespoons of oil in your heavy based frying pan, cut up the tortillas and lob them in the frying pan and toss them round a bit until golden and crispy.  Remove them from the pan and put to one side.

Put the tomato, chilli and spring onion into the oily pan, stirring it around for a minute to two.  Add the fried tortillas and then pour in the beaten eggs and the salt.

Scramble the eggs in the normal style, once the eggs start setting remove from the heat and continue stirring until they’re done to your liking.  This is where I went slightly wrong, never having scrambled an egg before – I think I kept it moving in the right way but I just kept on going.  As a result they were a bit rubbery and squeaked like halloumi against my teeth.


Voila!  Mexican Night!  It was delicious.  I wish I’d made the Roquamole for four rather than halving the ingredients, normal Guacamole is dead to me now and I will probably die a fat cheesy mess.  I loved the eggs, the tortillas gave it a brilliant texture and were really tasty – and it wasn’t too spicy!

Halfway through his eggs my lover turned to me and said “I’ll teach you how to scramble an egg and you can try again…”

High praise indeed.



Nigella Express, by Nigella Lawson (Chatto & Windus 2007 ISBN 9780701181840)

Week 23: Barbecued Beef Mince

There’s an awful lot of tedious back story to this week’s new recipe; so of course I shall recount it all.

Nigella’s Barbecued Beef Mince recipe is on the page after last weeks triumphal Cheesy Chilli ( ) and while I was cooking the chilli I kept looking at the picture of this brown stuff with nachos.  Then I read it:  Barbecued Beef Mince is the same thing as Sloppy Joes!  I had heard of Sloppy Joes but never tried it, and didn’t know what it actually was… it’s not the sort of thing my mum would ever have made with a name like that.

So I read the recipe, realised everything needed processing together and put it aside – my luddite kitchen was not equipped with a blender.  And then suddenly it was!

My lover’s boss was getting rid of his old mixer, he did this by offering it to everyone in the office, rather than putting it in a bin like any normal person.  When he lugged it through the door my heart leapt; YES!  I can cook all those liquidised recipes I have, and can eat meals through straws!  Boom!

I skipped off into town and bought the ingredients: 1 stick celery, 3 cloves garlic, 2 onions, 150g rindless smoked streaky bacon, 2 carrots, vegetable oil, dark brown sugar (3 tablespoons, 2 in the sauce) ground cloves (pinch), ground allspice (half teaspoon) 500g beef mince, 1 can chopped tomatoes, worcestershire sauce (3 tablespoons) bourbon (3 tablespoons) and tomato puree (2 tablespoons, but you can use sundried tomato paste if you like).  I was surprised how many of these ingredients I already had in my cupboard, this never would have happened in week one!

But then disaster struck… I decided to clean the mixer (it smelled like the last thing my lovers’ boss had liquidised was his underpants) and found that it didn’t work!  NOOOOOOO!  Faced with the prospect of Chunky Joes, I had to buy a mixer.  To cut a long story short the luddite days are over at Casa Del Crump:

There’s a preamble for you.  Behold my new toy; with some carrots.

The first stop in making this is to jam the carrots, celery, bacon, garlic and onions onions into the food processor and keep it spinning around until its all mushed up.  Like this:

Once it’s fully blended, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy bottomed lidded pan and cook the orange mush for 15-20 minutes.  While this is cooking, mix the can of tomatoes, worcestershire sauce, bourbon, tomato puree and add the tomato tin of cold water into a jug, and add 2 tablespoons of dark brown sugar.  I only had dark muscavado sugar, so mine turned out like this:

I don’t know if it’s right.  It smelled kinda fishy…

After the orange mush has turned mushy-er and soft, add a pinch of ground cloves, the allspice and 1 tablespoon of dark brown sugar.  Give it a good stir and add the mince.  At this point it will look horrible, like so:

A little like a brain.  Eww.  When the pink turns grey add the jug of sauce, stir it, lid it, turn the heat down low and leave it to simmer for 25 minutes.  While this is simmering away you could make a start trying to scrub the carrot dye off your sexy new mixer without cutting your fingers off.  Also, you can prepare your chosen serving suggestion.  I decided to try it with tortillas and in a bread roll (they were left over from last weeks burger night )

I know the dish is called Sloppy Joes, but I wasn’t prepared for it to look like this:

I’ll admit, it put me off slightly.  It was like the ultimate protein shake.  Worse still, buoyed by the success of last weeks chilli I made the full amount so I could freeze portions, leaving me with an enormous vat of slurry on my hob.

It has a certain taint to it.  I can’t tell if it was the celery (hate celery) or the bacon/allspice but it wasn’t very nice straight from the pan.  Also it was very watery, maybe I needed to simmer it longer?  The bread roll wasn’t a good idea, it just got wet and my lover has a thing about wet bread.

I froze the rest of the Sloppy Joes, and had a portion on a baked potato the other day and it was much better after it had been through the freezer.  If I make this again (when I have a bigger freezer) I’ll make it and freeze it straight away!

Kitchen, by Nigella Lawson (Chatto & Windus 2010, ISBN 9780701184605)

Week 22: Cheesy Chilli

I know I’ve done chilli before, but the book fell open at this recipe during the other week’s puttanescapades ( So I thought I’d give it a whirl, and see how it compared against the other chilli’s in my life.

It won.  This recipe actually won above all the recipes I’ve cooked in weeks!  I think after a few weeks of being an almost vegetarian, the massive amount of meat Nigella asks for gave me some sort of carnivorous euphoria.

To make this chilli (to serve 4-6),  you will need 110g chorizo, 500g beef mince, 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon (15ml) tomato puree (or sundried tomato paste – which I didn’t have), 400g can chopped tomatoes, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce, 400g can kidney beans, 2 x 125g mozzarella balls, salt, pepper and optional coriander to taste.

First up, I chopped up the chorizo and put it in the pan, then added the mince when the oil started to come out of the chorizo.

Once the mince stops looking raw, add the cocoa powder, oregano and puree/paste and mix it all up. Then add all the other ingredients (except the cheese) and bring to a bubble

Turn the heat down low and simmer for 20 minutes.  What I adore about Nigella’s Kitchen book is that she’ll give a recipe that makes for six, and then tells you which bits you can freeze/refrigerate, and tells you where to stop and freeze.  Normally I would try to halve a recipe so as just to cook for my lover and I, but this time I thought “No!  Nigella knows best!”: so I made the chilli for six and froze half of it:

When the freezer portion has been taken out of the pot, turn up the heat to get it bubbling, chop up the mozzarella and stir it in, season and stir.

I bought baked potatoes to have with this, and then when I was heating the pan to start off the chorizo I realised that I had completely forgotten to put them in the oven… so we had it with rice:


Did I mention that this is my favourite meaty chilli recipe?  I loved the Hairy Bikers Chilli from week 3 ( which is much more vegetable based; Nigella’s chilli was much less hot – no hiccups from me!  I know I said this about the week 3 chilli, but I will definitely make this again.. I just wish I had a bigger freezer!

Nigella writes much better instructions than me, so if you see a copy of Kitchen for sale anywhere buy it, and if its already sat on your bookshelf its on page 31!  YUM!

Nigella Kitchen

Kitchen, by Nigella Lawson (Chatto & Windus 2010, ISBN 9780701184605)


Sounds like a Friday night out on the town, but actually its just a normal night in my flat.  No keys were put in any bowls.

The other week I made Nadia G’s Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca (Spaghetti like a whore would make…lla-puttanesca/ ) which was lovely, a proper after-work dinner (especially if you’re a hooker I should imagine)

Then last week this happened: and I thought how interesting it would be to try another cooks recipe of the same dish.  So tonight I would like to introduce the first irregular New Recipe Night Recipe Fight.  I toyed with calling it the first Putta Fight, but I don’t think there are that many variations on Spaghetti alla Puttanesca, and you’d all get bored reading about spaghetti with olives, capers, tomato and anchovies; even if I dressed up specially.

So here we are with a different cooks take on Spaghetti like a whore would make.  Nigella’s “Slut’s spaghetti” from her Kitchen book (page 188).

The main difference (the only difference actually) is that Nigella uses a tin of tomatoes whereas Nadia uses cherry tomatoes, and Nigella uses pitted black olives where as Nadia G uses Kalamata Olives.  Nigella also gives the option of using picked red jalapenos instead of chilli flakes, but I didn’t have any.

The two recipes went together identically, if I was cooking for four I would prefer using the tinned tomatoes, but as its just me and the lover I had half a tin of tomatoes in the fridge for a couple of days.  Having said that, Nigella does say that the sauce can be made and kept for two days in the fridge/three months in the freezer; which might be my answer to slovenly after work cooking!

Pre-pitted olives from a jar are a boon.  I like the kalamata olives, but in my Sainsbury’s they only come whole from the deli and I have to pit them myself, which is a nuisance, and a non-putta activity…

A winner?  Tough one?  In a street fight I reckon Nadia G would win, because she’s very ghetto (and twenty years younger) but there’s something about the convenience of all of Nigella’s ingredients being in tins and jars that makes her version appeal to me more, as much as I like the whole cherry tomatoes.

Ultimately I’ll probably end up making a hybrid of the two, but one things for certain: next time I make it I shall definitely “serve in slatternly style, preferably with an untipped cigarette clamped between crimson painted lips”  Shkoff!

Kitchen, by Nigella Lawson (Chatto & Windus 2010, ISBN 9780701184605)