There’s something life affirming about Nigel’s writing, it sticks with you and makes you think about food in different ways, he brings back the romance and joy of food that can be so easily lost in the daily ritual of preparing a meal after a long day at work. I have been reading Nigel’s latest book, a sequel if you like to the popular kitchen diaries and it’s no surprise to me me that it’s a brilliant read, not just for the food photography, the great recipes, but for the honesty and rawness of it all. Far too many TV cooks release a new book that simply shows a collection of recipes, no heart and soul and it’s almost as if the chef is insignificant. I have on many occasions bought cookbooks not for the chef on the cover, but for the recipes inside, and whilst that might be great for lining the pockets of the author, with Nigel you get so much more.
The book takes you through a year in Nigel’s kitchen, giving you little catchments of his food adventures, mishaps, conundrums and successes. It shows his infallible side, and his wonderfully honest nature.
February 4 – ‘It wasn’t, on reflection, the wisest of days to make marmalade. I had pruned the roses, the temperature was a degree or two below freezing, and the skin around my thumbnail had cracked open in the cold. Each drop of bitter orange juice, each squirt of lemon zest sent shots of stinging pain through my thumb.’
The recipes are homely, fun and interesting, and not the slightest bit offensive or hard to make. What is also great is that they can so often be simply an inspiration rather than a set in stone recipe, something I find not only helpful but rather endearing.
This book is not for your Gordon Ramsay fanatics, or those that procrastinate over over baking a meringue, or revel in scrutinizing someones beurre blanc. This book is for the cook that spills the beurre blanc on the floor, but doesn’t care and makes another, this book is for those that revel in something home made, a bit wonky but completely delicious. It’s for those that rub there tummy after eating out at a £100 a head restaurant and hanker after a bacon sandwich, the cook with flour all over them but happy that it is, it’s for those that like to make it up as they go along, winging it and hoping the end result is tasty, smiling when it is.
I highly recommend this book, my only criticism if you like, is wether to have it by the bedside or in the kitchen, as it fits so elegantly in both.
The book is available here Kitchen Diaries 2