More Nigella

I wanted to write a bit more about Nigella Lawson’s newest book Nigella Express. I have been watching the show for some time and really wanted to take a test run at the book before buying it (I am moving soon and the less to move the better).

So a few weeks ago I put in a hold request at the library and last week it finally came in!

The book is not as narrative as Feast is but it is still an enjoyable read, as well as being a wealth of great, quick recipes and lush photography. The only small annoyance is that everything is measured in grams and ounces instead of cups, and the conversion can sometimes prove tricky (I should spend a post recounting all the different conversion websites I went to).

While I obviously couldn’t try out all the recipes in the book, the ones I did try solidified my urge to purchase.

Out of the ones I was able to cook up I have included 2 “winners” below in addition to the Roquemole I posted earlier. Not included is the Quesadilla recipe which I have actually made close to 7 times now. That will have to be a post for later in the summer.

Two not so great recipes from the book were the Ceviche (I was sort of weirded out by the way the fish was “cooked” as Nigella had warned) and the Pea and Pesto soup (which she has actually made on the TV show, it was kind of an odd texture and bland).

But on to the good stuff.

The first recipe I provide will become a standby for me when the money is tight. I have adapted from the recipe in the book. Really if you can’t find the Unico brand, buy some canelli beans and add 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to the mix. Really tasty and could be quite a nice appetizer when served with some country bread.

Tuna and Beans

1/2 red onion finely chopped
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 19 oz can of mixed bean salad (Unico Insalata Tuscana works well)
2 cans of tuna
salt and pepper to taste

1. Chop the onion in the food processor, add lemon juice and let it steep while you get on with the salad.

2. Drain the beans (but don’t completely rinse) to get most of the goop off and then place in a bowl.

3. Drain the tuna and flake it into the beans.

4. Add the salt and pepper to the onion and lemon juice mixture, whisking into a dressing, then pour it over the tuna and beans and transfer to a serving dish.

5. Fork the tuna and bean salad through, use more seasoning if necessary.

Dinner for 2 or a Starter for 4 to 6.

Now these bars are pretty darn terrific and they last for a whole week (if not longer). They would make a hearty post work out treat, but could also suffice for breakfast on the run or a mid-day snack. Really they aren’t even that bad for you if you use the light condensed milk and unsweetened coconut (my modification) and they are so chewy and just the right amount of sweet I have been eating one every day.

Breakfast Bars

1 13.0 oz can of light condensed milk
2 1/4 cups of rolled oats
1 cup of shredded unsweetened coconut
2/3 cup of dried cranberries
1 cup of mixed seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower)
1 cup of natural unsalted peanuts

1. Preheat the oven to 130 degree Celsius, and oil a 23x33x4cm baking tin, or us a throw away foil on.

2. Warm the condensed milk in a large pan.

3. Meanwhile, mix together all the other ingredients and then add the warmed condensed milk, using a rubber or wooden spatula to fold and distribute.

4. Spread the mixture into the tin and press down with a spatula, to even the surface.

5. Bake for 1 hour, then remove from the oven and, after about 15 minutes, cut into four across and four down to make 16 chunky bars. Let cool completely.

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