It was only a matter of time before there was a dedicated (online) shrine from me to mine and your ultimate domestic goddess, Nigella Lawson. Welcome to the first of a very new series on the blog, as my bestie and I cook and eat our way through Nigella Lawson’s recipes. Read the first entry below, cooked and written entirely by my bestie and eaten (nearly) entirely by me.
It was about 10.30 pm on a Saturday night, day one of our spring-cleaning was behind us. We ate one meal, all the while snacking and sipping on wine. With nothing to watch on TV, we indulged in a bit of Nigella on Youtube and began browsing her books. Now let me tell you introduce you to the ‘we’ in this. The bestie, who I also happen to live with, is a pastry chef, an avid eater, enabler and the only person on planet earth who adores Nigella more than the average girl adores Nutella. And the ‘I’ is the other half of this equation, a paranoid cleaner and an absolute food addict. So here we are on a quite Saturday night watching Nigella fry mozzarella sandwiches and an idea strikes me. Lets work through a blog where we cook through Nigella’s recipes. I love how her face lights up when she shows off her pantry, making me want to empty our half pantry to make space for a grocery trip. So I picked the Nigella version of a lasagne, where she uses tortillas. Genius, plus I already had tortillas in the freezer, Score!
We woke up on day two of spring-cleaning, by noon, going through our rituals of breakfast and coffee with a side of yoga. We invited our friends over to help with the cleaning, and the happily agreed on the condition that we satiate their appetites. We set out around 2.30pm to the grocery store and about 1.5 hours after with £135 in damages, we happily returned. The sun shining on our faces, zooming in on the dusty books, the bestie and I began storing all our loot away whilst cooking and instructing our friends on the cleaning process. The onion chopped and browning slowly on the pot gave me time to cut the birds eye chilli and the parsley stalks (now I meant to buy coriander as the recipe demanded, but I got carried away with the shitake mushrooms right next to it and picked up the wrong packet). Nevertheless, we wouldn’t know the difference anyway, like I said, we can eat anything! I also substituted the canned tomatoes with the jar of tomato and garlic sauce in the fridge as I have an incessant need to use all ingredients and not waste anything, and saw this as the perfect opportunity. The sauce boiling, the bestie opened the cans of corn and red kidney beans, I drained them. We have some decent teamwork thing going on. I put them in a bowl and she politely requests me to add the cheese and I gladly give it to her, as I hate getting my hand dirty. I begin layering the dish as instructed. I use a large white dish that we have in the house, and use about 10 inch tortillas, so the recipe is heavily altered. I managed to get in only about 2 tortillas for the layers while putting in the mix of the 300g of cheese, 250 g of corn and 400g of beans. I believe in cooking through it, I don’t really like following many recipes, I adopt them to the amount of people I feed, what kind of food do we want to eat. I tend to adopt grease filled, cholesterol-raising recipes to tingle our taste buds whilst having a bit of a healthy twist in it.
So the lasagne was in the oven at 200*C for 30 minutes. The bestie sprinkled the final layer of cheese and began clearing the pile of dishes while I joined in on the cleaning. 30 minutes later, we hurriedly cleared the table, almost forgetting the photo-sesh with the glitzing lasagne. We moved it from table to table, light to light, iphone from DLSR finally took it to the balcony so the sun would do its work and help our pictures shine. I love food photography, I spend half my free time on instagram, ogling over food, but sometimes I wish pictures could somehow describe the taste of food. It can always be made to look good but how many times can you trust that it tastes good too? While the final transfer was taking place, I poured 4 glasses of wine and we gathered on the table and dug into the lasagne. It was absolutely divine (not only cause it was 530 pm and we were starved) because the sauce complimented the blandness of the beans, corn and tortilla, it was zingy and spicy, just perfecto! My favorite bit is to let the cheese on top burn a bit, as I am a sucker for burnt cheese, so while everyone was busy devouring our late lunch, I quietly spooned away the burnt cheese and consumed it as the last and final bite after 3 whole helpings. The dish was wiped clean. One of the friends had obliged to my request for a mixed berry pie, hot from the oven, we took four spoons and dug straight into the pie dish. It was tarty and sweet and crumbly and buttery all at once, and the perfect way to spend a Sunday. That was not a Nigella recipe, but I will definitely give my hand at her desserts, but really why should I? I’m not the pastry chef in this equation; I guess I should stick to the cooking, while bestie rolls out her desserts on a silver platter for us (Literally!).
So this is the first of many and many (till we exhaust Nigella, but really, can someone exhaust her recipes? One day chicken with 39 garlic cloves, another with 38, who will ever know?) recipes. I think it’s time someone (or maybe there are people already) paid tribute to the culinary goddess Nigella Lawson.
Serves: 4 (slightly adapted, original states 8)
2 10’ inch tortillas
400g of tomato sauce
1 onion chopped
2 birds eye chilli, finely chopped
400g red kidney beans
300g cheese (cheddar)
Pre-heat oven at 200*C.
1) Saute onions in oil, once slightly soft, add the chopped chilli. Let it cook.
2) Drain the red kidney beans and corn, transfer to bowl, add about 250g of cheese in the bowl and mix.
3) Add the sauce to the onion and chilli, and let it cook on slow.
4) Once cooked, around 10 minutes on slow, put a third on the bottom of the dish.
5) Place tortilla on top, and add a layer of corn, beans and cheese mix, topped with salsa, and repeat till the dish is full. The final layer should be the beans, corn, cheese layer with salsa on top, and sprinkle some cheese.
6) Place in oven at 200*C for 30 minutes.
7) After 30 minutes, remove, keep for about 10-15 minutes before serving.
This is my adoption of Queen Nigella’s recipe, although for 8 people, double this recipe or stick to her original recipe. Till next time. x -P