I don’t think I’ve ever experienced kitchen envy as much as watching Nigella’s latest television program, Nigellisima. I’m barely following the recipes for staring at the gorgeous layout, elegant appliances, heavenly pantry and beautiful kitchen garden. If the kitchen is the heart of the home then this kitchen would be a Phar Lap sized, thumping, organ. It is so gorgeous it would make people who eat beans straight out of the can want to whip up a cheeky bowl of pasta or their first yoghurt pot cake. So here’s the kicker – it’s a set. But apparently it’s modelled off Nigella’s real kitchen (lucky cow 😉
I’ve always loved cooking even in my very first kitchen that was a mere slip of a bench top, bar fridge and stove top from the dark ages. The beauty of Nigella’s new book is that regardless of whether you are completely decked out in a state of the art kitchen or operating under more modest circumstances, these beautiful Italian inspired recipes will work.
This evening we’re taking two of the recipes for a run – the Tagliata for Two and the Beans with Pistachio Pesto.
Switch outs: Pretty much everything I had to hand except fresh oregano which I switched out with fresh marjoram. The recipe suggests a 300gm sirloin – we opted for a 400gm rib-eye. Opted for medium rare over rare. Added the marjoram to the oil mixture not sprinkled on top.
TAGLIATA FOR TWO (Serves 2)
- 400gm rib eye
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried chilli
- 250gm cherry tomatoes, slice in half (or quarters if they’re fatties)
- Few sprigs of marjoram
1. Heat the griddle on a high heat until super hot – almost smoking.
2. Pour the oil, vinegar, oregano and chilli in a small dish about the size of the steak.
3. Coat the steak in a little olive oil then cook on the griddle for around 3 minutes each side for medium rare. Pop the steak into the oil vinegar mixture and rest for two minutes on each side to absorb the flavours.
4. Take the steak out and pop the chopped tomatoes into the oil mixture. Add the fresh marjoram.
5. Slice up the steak and top with the tomato mixture. Serve with Nigellisima’s Beans with Pistachio Pesto.
The Test Kitchen Verdict: So I was a bit of a spack and marinated the meat into the oil and vinegar mix prior to grilling. This contradicts the recipes that tells you to drop the meat in only after cooking. Fearful of some sort of salmonella incident I chucked that and started over.
A great rib-eye works well at the best of times but the simple combination of oil, vinegar, chilli, oregano just added a beautiful flavour hit that made it just a bit more special whilst retain it’s beefy goodness.
This steak dish is a winner. Quick enough to whip together on a week night. Easy enough to throw together with a handful of ingredients. Impressive enough that you could serve for friends without too much fuss.Overall this recipe is a cinch and the pistachio pesto was a nice change for the beans on my usual olive oil and lemon rind.
Real Life rating: 10/10 – The recipes give even the most experienced home cook some helpful tips and fresh ideas. The recipe selection is pretty full proof from what I’ve tried so far. The Farro Risotto with Mushrooms and the Lamb Cutlets with Mint, Chilli & Golden Potatoes are now on heavy rotation on the weekly meal roster.
What I love the most in a cookbook are the little introductions to the recipe that shares the background, it’s story, perhaps the watch outs, the cheats or the extra guidance to take it from a list of instructions to something I actually want to try. Nigellisima does this throughout in a way that will inspire you to the kitchen. This Nigella book is the most ‘up my street’ of all of her cookbooks with a massive number of recipes that I would try.
Cooking probability: I want to make about 95% of the recipes in this cookbook.