Tag Archives: Nigella Lawson

The Taste: A rose between two prawns

The Taste Tasting RoomWhy are people tuning into the new Channel 4 show The Taste? Let me count the ways. Because they enjoy cookery programmes? A few, possibly. Because they’re fans of Anthony Bourdain’s 2000 sex, drugs and buttered roll book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly ? Some. I loved it – and I got the vibe that a few contestants on The Taste were hoping they could look forward to a bit of a hardass Tony tongue-lashing in future episodes, definitely.

Nobody I know has ever heard of French ‘Allo ‘Allo stylee head chef Ludo Lefebvre that’s for sure. He’s apparently big in LA, but an unknown quantity here, other than appearing to be a bit of an egotistical, culinary willy waving twat (which Google Translate tells me, perhaps unreliably, is “zizi-agitant con culinaire”).

So what was the big draw? Nigella, of course. Along with most of the country, I couldn’t give a toss about the alleged cocaine snorting, I’m just sad she chose such a massive zizi-agitant con for a second husband and wish the ghost of John Diamond would come and “calm him down” with a couple of firm hands around the throat.

Anyhoo, Nigella was on top form. She’s a beautiful woman I don’t envy, because she’s mentally placed in my ‘statuesque goddess’ file, along with Sophie Loren, Beyonce and Angelina Jolie. She didn’t disappoint. Utterly, preposterously gorgeous. Also, kind, funny, smart, supportive. Made the two blokes look even more like a pair of zizi-agitant cons culinairesContinue reading

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Christmas food specials: Faux faux faux

We all know these devilish television people play tricks on us all the time. But some are frankly more successful than others, and pre-recorded Christmas food specials are, without fail, a tinsel-accessoried, atmosphere-free pile of crap. Other than the obvious seasonal continuity giveaway that everyone is dressed in t-shirts, it’s all the fake hearty cheeriness that gets on my tits. As do Nigella’s tits. She may be marvellous in many ways, but the faux parties on Nigella Kitchen are ghastly, and the Christmas ‘special’ was anything but.

I thought the dish of sausages in a hollowed out loaf of bread really quite pants. Even if intended for a festive canine gathering I’d still think it was joyless. Then, at the end of the programme, when all the ‘guests’ had left, she started winsomely nibbling the side of the whole leftover loaf as if this were a treat, and it became Homer Simpson/farcical. Maybe this is unfair because I’m not a lover of bread. If it had been a giant hollowed out roast potato, I’d have certainly understood stuffing my face with it, probably when the guests were still present.

Then on Channel 4, we had the flattest, dullest Come Dine With Me ever. Not even the voiceover by Dave Lamb could resuscitate this baby. Goldie has no concept of hosting, by which I mean, allowing other people to speak or initiating conversation not involving him, so that made for a hopeless night to be present at, and to watch. His ‘entertainment’ involved looking at his pet boa constrictor coil around his body, a snake which had apparently just bitten him. It was hard not to have some sympathy for the snake.

I’d have rather scraped my own nails down a blackboard than be at that gathering. Nobody knew who anyone was, or cared apparently. We had Janet Ellis from Blue Peter who came across like a school marm (Goldie did remember watching her, at what must have been the advanced age of 18, and viewed her as being like a ‘mum’ – which upset her a great deal, being only ten years his senior). Also present were Susie Amy, AKA Chardonnay from Footballers’ Wives and Tony ‘Show Me the Way to Amarillo’ Christie.

At one point, (and please note, we’re not fools, continuity people), we had Tony Christie doing a supposedly post-meal commentary somewhere with snow behind him. Didn’t work for me. It clearly took place months after the meal, because those lush, green front gardens that showed the guests arriving at each others houses, with reindeer lurking weirdly, were clearly not shot during winter months, even if the guests had been told to wear heavy coats to pretend it was cold. Continue reading

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Keeping us on the straight and narrow: Delia Through the Decades: the 80s

People often have a row of glossy, sexy cookbooks on their shelves. Some keep them by the bed for imaginary culinary midnight feasts. But the cook books that are actually stained through frequent use are often those by Delia Smith. I hit my teenage years learning to cook with Delia. Someone gave me her Complete Cookery Course, and I regularly made the farmhouse fruit cake recipe. Pleasant, solid, reliable and it kept well. Much like the lovely Delia herself.  She can and will teach your grandmother to poach eggs.

I’d also follow recipes according to season and occasion, pancake mix for Shrove Tuesday for example, and Christmas cake in December. When I went off to University, Delia came with me along with an M&S cheese plant that turned into a monster within three years. The first meal I ever cooked for a boyfriend in my student flat was her recipe for beef in Guinness. The dish was tastier and more reliable than the boyfriend.

Delia is known to never taste food her own food on camera. She maybe thinks it’s common, or rude, I’m not sure. It’s odd. Busty, slutty Nigella is the anti-Delia, what with her lasciviousness, knocking back of hard liquor and licking the spoon. Over the years, sometimes it’s hard to reconcile a real, living breathing person with the public persona of Delia Smith plc. So the BBC2 series, Delia Through The Decades, is illuminating. I watched the review of her in the 198os with some nostalgia. I too cooked Piedmont Peppers back then, and still do actually. And I still love them. I’m less biddable than I was then, so no, I can’t be arsed to peel the tomatoes. I use excessive amounts of garlic and anchovies compared to her, that’s how much of a rebel I’ve become.

I do love her, and found it especially endearing when her neighbour and friend, John Peel talked of going round her house for a takeaway. Underneath it all, I think she’s a good soul. But what I’ve never been able to understand is why her pronunciation of certain items of food is so abysmal (chor-IT-zo, for example) or with the emphasis in strange places (like ‘An-CHO-vies’) . Mr Inkface says she sometimes speaks ‘as if English were her second language, but also as if she has no first language’. Is she like JK Rowling, so vastly powerful no-one dares correct her? Has she never been to foreign parts? She’s clearly been to Norwich, but I’m not sure she’s really ever eaten a paella in Spain or Piedmont peppers in Italy.

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