Feast – our verdict

Maureen: This is definitely my favourite cookbook ever.

Kirstin: Mine too. I cooked lots from it this festive season, too much to actually blog. I loved finding some new recipes too.

Maureen: Oh yes, what did you find?

Kirstin: I had never noticed the curry chapter before.

Maureen: We had our usual lovely Christmas dinner with the Fully Festive Ham and many vegetable dishes from the Christmas/Thanksgiving chapter. I never really appreciated how many recipes I used from this book until I tallied them all up. Six out of the 10 things I make for Christmas dinner are from “Feast.”

Kirstin: If you don’t already own this book, then you should go and buy yourself a copy!

Maureen: I own a lot of cookbooks– if I had to guess, probably more than 130– but this one is definitely in my Top Five. If I had to pick a Desert Island Cookbook, this would be one of them. This is truly a fantastic cookbook.

Feast – our verdict

Christmas with Nigella: A feast from “Feast”

We spend every Christmas with Nigella. We have done so every year since 2004 when this book was published. This year, like every year, I made so many recipes from “Feast” for our Christmas feast, there was no point in listing them all in the title.  This is what we enjoyed for Christmas dinner. The recipes for those dishes listed below without astericks were found elsewhere. But as you can see, the majority of our dishes were from “Feast.”

As luck would have it, all of the dishes I used from “Feast” are posted on the Interweb elsewhere, mostly on the the Food Network site, but also Epicurious and Nigella’s own website. Click through on the name of the dish to see the recipe for yourself.

Our Christmas Dinner:

It was delicious. Here is a picture. I would like to say that I paused for a moment during the Christmas hoopla to take a picture of what it all looked like, but in the spirit of Christmas honesty, I have to tell you that I recreated the plate with leftovers this morning. I couldn’t include any baby carrots and brioche because we ate it all, but this is some of what remained of the main event (minus the soup and the desserts).

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Christmas with Nigella: A feast from “Feast”

“Crunchy Pork Chops with Garlicky Spinach and Tomato Salad” from Feast

Tom: Ooo, this is just like tonkatsu. It IS tonkatsu.

Miles: Is this chicken? It’s just like the chicken I have at Wagamama.

Tom: Ah, but this is pork, Miles.

Kirstin: This was so easy to make, I would gladly make it again.

Tom: And it’s so yummy. I would love to eat it again.

Miles: Me too! It’s all crunchy.

Kirstin: It’s the first time I have deep fried anything in that pan and it worked really well. Not that I plan to make a habit of deep frying things. I spend rather a lot of time at work advising people on how they can reduce their cholesterol intake and deep frying is top of the list!

Tom: But once in a while, is OK, surely.

Kirstin: Of course! Another success from Nigella!

“Crunchy Pork Chops with Garlicky Spinach and Tomato Salad” from Feast

“Tagliata with Rosemary and Garlic Potatoes” from “Feast”

Thanks to our friends at the Food Network, you can find the recipe for these dishes here on their website.

Andrew (12): This is very nice.

Maureen: Yes, but we have this all the time, though. We love having this on the grill in the summer. We love having it on the grill pan the rest of the year. We love this dish, full stop.

Nicholas: Yes, this is good.

Maureen: Have you actually eaten the meat?

Nicholas: Yes!

Maureen: Wow. Is that because you’ve had it before and you know you like it?

Nicholas: Yes.

Tom (age undisclosed, but he gets a Senior Discount at the cinema): The meat is very good. Did you marinate it?

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“Tagliata with Rosemary and Garlic Potatoes” from “Feast”

“Keema” from “Feast”

This is from the menu for “Sunday Lunch after the Saturday Night Before.” We didn’t have it on a Sunday after a raucous night out. We just had it on a weeknight. I do suspect that Nigella lives a far more interesting life than we do. 

This really was quite good. If you’d like to try it yourself, Nigella has posted the recipe on her own website, so you can find that here.

Andrew (12): This is epic.

Nicholas (8): This is very good.

Maureen: The homemade naan bread that you made Tim is what really make this delicious.

Andrew: This is a nice summary of Indian food, with meat, spices, peas and naan bread.

Nicholas: Do you think we could get this at The Mogul?

Tim: Why would you want to do that when you could have it at home?

Andrew: Were the ingredients hard to get?

Maureen: Not at all. It’s all things I can find at the local store. Drings even had ready-made lamb mince. I thought they were going to have to mince it for me, but they had it standing by.

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“Keema” from “Feast”

“Scandi-Supper for Six” and “Chocolate Orange Cake” from Feast

Jen: That was an epic meal! Epic beef!

Kirstin: That was bloody good, that was. We cook this every New Year’s. I usually make gravlax too, but none tonight, again using a Nigella recipe. I even found the Ella’s hand drawn menu for last year’s celebration. Oh how I love this book.

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“Scandi-Supper for Six” and “Chocolate Orange Cake” from Feast

“Rigatoni al Forno” from “Feast”

If you would like to make this yourself, Red Dirt Mummy out of Australia posted the recipe on her blog here.

Tim (watching as the boys gobble up their dinner): You boys do love your pasta.

Andrew (12): This is great.

Nicholas (8): Yes, I think it’s very good.

Andrew: Please can I have some seconds?

Nicholas: Me too, although it’s a bit burnt around the edges.

Andrew: Yes, I can see the burnt bits.

Tim: It adds some nice crunchy bits.

Maureen: Sorry about that. Having a lifetime experience of baked ziti behind me, I should know it’s going to take no more than 30 minutes to finish this dish off. Nigella says it might take much as 45 minutes. If you did that, it would be totally burnt.

Tim: Isn’t this just a baked spaghetti bolognese? But without the spaghetti?

Maureen: Sort of, though you do have to make a bechamel sauce. The other major difference is that while this is easy, it does take the better part of an afternoon. It took 2 and a half hours.

Nicholas: Wow! Two hours 30 minutes! That’s a long time.

Tim: You have to start this early in the afternoon if you want to have it for dinner then, don’t you?

Maureen: Yes, this is definitely a cold weekend dish. There’s no way you’d have the time to do it on a weeknight. Saying that, though, it is delicious. And to be fair to Nigella, she put this in the “Partytime” section of the book to feed a crowd of 16– I scaled it down– so maybe that’s when she intends it to be eaten too.

Andrew: I’m going for some more.

Maureen: Thirds!

Tim: This might be a record.

Andrew: No, my record is fourths, probably with chicken parm.

Maureen: Should we have it again?

Everyone: Yes!

Cook’s Notes: While this does take a long time to cook, it doesn’t take a long time to prepare. You make the base of the meat sauce by bunging onions, carrots, pancetta, celery and garlic into the food processor. After frying it up, you add the minced beef, chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, red wine and bay leaves. Then you leave it to cook for two hours. Like I said, the perfect dish to have simmering away on the stove on a cold winter’s day.

“Rigatoni al Forno” from “Feast”

“Saké Steak and Rice” from Feast.

Kirstin: This is one of my favourite easy recipes ever. But it’s the first time I have cooked it for the little people. Which is why I’ve left the sauce on the side. What do you think?

Georgia: I love the sauce!

Ella: Yum!


Miles: Is this pork then? I can’t chew it very well. Did you know mummy, that I have a wobbly tooth?

Kirstin: Yes, I think we all know you have a wobbly tooth…are you sure you’re old enough to have a wobbly tooth?

Tom: So simple and yet so delicious.

Kirstin: Should I make this again?

Tom: Yes please! Any excuse to eat almost raw meat and you can count me in. I love the way it’s all rare in the middle and crunchy on the outside.

“Saké Steak and Rice” from Feast.

“Meatloaf” and “Heavenly Potatoes” from “Feast”

Maureen (looking at Andrew’s plate): You must have liked the meatloaf!

Andrew (12): Yes, it was nice. Please can I have some more?

Nicholas (8): Me too, please. Have you ever made this before?

Maureen: No.

Tim: I think it’s much nicer than the meatloaf that you usually make.

Maureen: The one I usually make is much more plain, with the only exotic thing about it the mixture of beef and pork mince. In this version, I like the egg in the middle, and I wasn’t sure about that initially. Also, in this version, you get pork by whizzing up streaky bacon, which is very clever.

Maureen: What do you think of the potatoes (pictured above, right)?

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“Meatloaf” and “Heavenly Potatoes” from “Feast”

The Ultimate English Sunday Lunch for Eight to Ten; The Rib, Yorkshire Pudding, Cauliflower Cheese and Roast Potatoes

Tom: Well, I can’t believe how little you have to do to cook that. You just bung the beef in the oven for a couple of hours. You didn’t even season it, right?

Kirstin: No, I didn’t. Should I have?

Tom: And the outside was all crunchy and charred, while the inside was wonderfully rare. It was great!

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The Ultimate English Sunday Lunch for Eight to Ten; The Rib, Yorkshire Pudding, Cauliflower Cheese and Roast Potatoes