I’ve been a massive fan of Nigella for a long time. I know that doesn’t set me apart from the other (well deserved) millions of fans around the world, but there it is. There’s just something so approachable about her recipes that I can’t resist.
For me there’s one dish in this book that stands out above all others and is the reason for this review, and that is the understated “liquorice pudding”. Until seeing her cook this on TV (in the series of the same name) I’d never even considered liquorice in a dessert; now I can’t get enough of it. My intrigue was changed into obsession when I had the pleasure of eating a liquorice panna cotta in a local restaurant recently; it’s such an amazing flavour I just had to give it a go at home.
Barring a day trip to Sicily a few years back I’ve never been to Italy so can’t vouch for the authenticity of these recipes, but that barely seems to matter. For all the pages about Italian food, this doesn’t seem to come across as an Italian cooking book. It’s a Nigella book, full of her warmth and charisma we’ve grown so attached to. And what’s more, it’s better for it.
If truth be told I’d lost a little love for Nigella back with ‘Express’. It just didn’t feel right somehow – despite the fact it was blatantly great food, it seemed to lose a little of the Nigella charm I’ve grown so attached to. Nigelissima however is a true return to form; Nigella may not be a restaurant chef but she rivals anyone else on TV for making straight up good food which is both inviting and unpretentious.
Nigellissima: Instant Italian Inspiration is available via Amazon (and other retailers), currently priced at just £11 (RRP £26).