It may not be the television event of the year, but as an avid foodie, it was a pleasant experience to see the return of Nigella Lawson in her new BBC2 programme called Simply Nigella. It’s been a full three years since her last solo television venture as her personal life erupted with an ugly divorce, public confession of drug taking and assistants on trial. She refers to these eruptions in an implicit manner as she explains Simply Nigella reflects where she is now in her life and how she has comfortably settled into life in her new kitchen (and with no wonder as it is the nicest looking kitchen I’ve seen on screen since Caroline Elliot’s kitchen in Last Tango in Halifax).
The first episode of Simply Nigella is a nothing new or groundbreaking by far, the first few moments is like a familiar hug from a long lost friend. Nigella confidently struts along a Mayfair-esque street revealing her newfound love for life, then we see her lucky friends and relatives tuck into delicious posh nosh by seductive candlelight. Not too long in, Nigella nips into her favourite corner shop, which naturally in Nigella-esque fashion, is a bohemian deli store which sells overly-expensive obscure produce.
That’s all part of the fun though, Simply Nigella isn’t just a food programme, it’s a programme where we are able to bob along to a uplifting soul soundtrack, immerse ourselves in Nigella’s groovy posh lifestyle and feel like we are her brand new chum. The first meal, she shows is a breakfast dish, crushed avocado on a German loaf, which is toasted with a sprinkle of ginger and dill. Clearly, the soggy half-priced muesli that I gobble for breakfast wouldn’t go down too well in the Lawson household.
Nigella is determined to show to us that she is on the road of relaxation, so she has a sit down on the staircase and reminisces to us about her recent holiday to Thailand, we even get to see some of her polaroid snaps of bad-hairdos and meals that have inspired her new obsession with pink-on-green. Her Thai inspired noodle dish with prawns and cinnamon looks delicious, but whether it would fit into a student budget is another question. Whereas, her spiced cauliflower and chickpea salad for a lazy supper is a meal that could just about be attempted on a tight budget.
For the meat lovers amongst us, Nigella makes a family dinner made up of lamb ribs with cumin and nigella seeds (as she points out, if you have a spice with the same name, it’s a bit rude not to use it). A sweet treat comes in the form of a lazy afternoon, spent baking with her as she makes a rather plain, but flavoursome apricot and almond cake.
If you are an avid foodie, like myself, who are constantly thinking about what the next culinary adventure will be, Simply Nigella certainly looks promising as Nigella’s recipes are often adventurous, imaginative, but reasonably uncomplicated. Even if you aren’t, Simply Nigella is a warm, relaxing series, yet willingly aware that it borders into pretentiousness, but ultimately it is a welcomed return of the Domestic Goddess.
What did you think of Nigella Lawson’s return to television?
Comment with your thoughts.
– Anna Richards