We have been back at work nearly one month and after a day in the office, my evenings are a balance of fresh air and spending a little time in the kitchen. I say little because my weeknight dinners are always simple, they are colourful salads with the addition of seasonal fruit, a handful of nuts or seeds and chicken, venison or fish, flashed in a pan or on the grill.
I casually met Nigella Lawson on Monday night, well the truth is she signed my book and I very nervously (not casual at all) thanked her for inspiring us to cook whatever the heck we want. I was mesmerised by her flawless complexion and I hung on her every lovely word about cooking and eating. One resonating message was around removing the pressure associated with cooking; hence her new book titled “Simply Nigella”. Because of my background in cooking, people often say “you must cook amazing meals at home”, a nervous laugh followed by a twinge of guilt and I think, if you only knew. Nigella told me (and the other 799 people in the room) that the kitchen should be a pleasurable experience and if you are having a rough day, why make it rougher by cooking something complex?
Another Nigella-ism was that one should only apologise once for a disappointing meal. There’s just no limit to how many times I can apologise, I’ll even carry on the next day if I have to. And even when I’m semi-impressed with myself, I’ll then go on to pick the meal apart, identifying what could be improved for next time. This has to stop, it’s boring and it really is a wonder people accept my dinner invitations at all.
After being away from home, Nigella goes straight to her kitchen, even before taking her coat off…me too. I think by adopting a few of Nigella’s food philosophies it may make the kitchen a better, kinder place.