The world is my pippy

We’re back from the beach. It was a good, good week with lots of sandy legs and naps and books and scrabble. I was reading Julie & Julia and Nigella’s How to be a Domestic Goddess (yes, reading it day after day- total food porn) so I managed to gain quite a few scrabble points with foody words – Ragout was a particularly good one. But we existed mostly on salad sandwiches, fish and chips and quick pastas. Mum bravely dug up her own pippies in the surf one afternoon and fried them up with garlic and olive oil then proceeded to throw most of them away. I give her mad props for being adventurous anyway, and they did smell good, even if they were gritty and rubbery.

Back to life as usual. I loved J & J – and read it quickly. As I had Nigella’s book sitting along side it, of course it crossed my mind more than once that it would be fun to cook every single recipe in that book instead. As Kylie pointed out in the comments in the cook book entry from before we went beachside, that “if one aimed to cook through the book in a year (a la julie & julia), i know i’d be the side of a house, but gee, the recipes taste freaking amazing.”

So I have decided not to do it over a year, nor make it a project (though I do love a good project) but gently work my way through the pages, there are other things to cook and do after all. I do feel this is probably a good way to cook things that I would never otherwise attempt as when it comes down to it, I am very limited cook… for no good reason other than fear of failure. So watch out Victoria Sponge, Gin and Tonic Jelly and Pistachio Souffles, your ass is grass. I am ready to take them on – succeed or fail. Why not?

Apart from time frame and the fear factor, there is the other issue of weight gain. Firstly, I am pregnant and I am craving treats so I think this is as good as it is ever going to get when it comes to permission to eat a lot of cake. Little baby number two will come into the world and see his/her beatifically huge mama and think that this is bliss regardless (hopefully!). Also, my plan is not to actually cook all these recipes and eat all of it myself. Of course, there will be sharing with Big-p and cakeaholic-Amelia, but to save all of us from having to buy entirely new wardrobes, I am going to inflict these goods on friends, mother’s groups, family and unsuspecting neighbours (who hardly know us, but I am sure will love us after they have huge trays of scones, muffins and brownies thrust at them through the narrow cracks of their front… doors, presuming I actually succeed at some of the recipes that is). There will be no sharing of the cakes at Amelia’s new preschool however (she starts in Feb!), as they have a rule that cakes for birthdays must have been bought and prepared in an industrial kitchen so that if anything goes wrong it can be traced back to the source. How sad!

Anyway, the book has two little crosses penciled in it so far – Madeira Cake (the first in the book) and the Banana Muffins (how could I resist). The Madeira cake was ok, but was prepared in a hormonal fog of gloom so it lacks a little, um, oomph. I shared it with some friends who ate it and said it tasted good, and there is only one slice left, but I thought it was a little ‘eh’. Yes, I will blame my hormones for that one. I’m sure it won’t be the last. The banana muffins were, however, amazing and I will make those again in a heartbeat. I made them the week before we went away in a haze of summer holiday expectation so it’s no wonder they were sweet and moist and oh-so Nigella.

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27 Responses

  1. Banana muffins!! Oh droolicious!!

  2. LOVE the idea of sandy legs and naps. In NYC it’s cooold, brrr. You’ve got me dreaming of a beach vacation!

  3. Hallo’Isn’t Nigella just too too divine! I tell you what, whenever she’s on the telly, all the males in the household are suddenly sooooooo interested in cooking!

  4. You simply must flip to the recipe for the chocolate marscapone tarts with raspberries on top. Devine!!! I made these for Xmas brunch and we were groaning! Great book to read and dream, the recipes are sumptuous. Enjoy!

  5. I have this book and have made a number of things from it. I really reccomend the Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake, MmmMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm! Yummy, i could eat a whole one to myself.

  6. I have heard that before about the kids birthday cakes – to be honest words fail me… Sounds like your kitchen is very lively though!!!! Take care…

  7. I have been reading your blog quietly for while and now stand up to say hello. Hello. Love your blog, your work, your lovely little girl and your-soon-to-be baby. You have encouraged me to buy Nigella. Have you read Nigel Slater? Equally fab and enough to make even the most reluctant cook (myself) give it a go. Yours from a small island in the south china seas….

  8. Good luck with your cooking. I have had this book for a little while and have cooked a few of the recipes. I agree with you : total food porn. Don’t be afraid to use your intuition some of the recipes have required a little adjustment. The dense chocolate loaf is scrummy – especially as a pudding with creme fraiche/sour cream, but made way more quantities than I was expecting. I regularly make a version of the pink grapefruit marmalade (five fruit marmalade, mandarin cointreau marmalade etc.) just by substituting the same weight of fruit for the grapefruit. It is known as sluts marmalade in our house as I am ultra lazy and just halve the fruit, remove the pips and whizz everything in the food processor to give a “munged up” cut as opposed to a thin or thick cut. The spicy plum sauce is yummy too – lovely with fresh griddled tuna.

  9. I’m glad to hear you had a good vacation.
    Nigella’s book is lovely. I make the madeira cake all the time and have found that altering the amount of lemon juice until you get it right is a good way to go. If it still feels a bit dry – or boring – try spreading some sour cream on it. Yummy!

    The Victoria Sponge is super easy to make and tastes delicious. Go for it!

  10. so glad to have found your blog! i also read nigella’s books for pleasure. she really inspires such sensuality when cooking – love her! too bad they no longer run her series on tv. my kids (1 year old twins) and i so enjoy our daily dose of charlie and lola every morning, though. what a sweet and adorable show that is. best of luck with your pregnancy, take lots of care, eat cake and enjoy the whole wonderful experience.

  11. my husband has made a vegan version of that madeira cake and if you put in LOTS of lemon zest it’s really VERY yummy!

  12. Mmm I get sooo ravenous reading through cook books.
    I have around nine cook books in all, as they seem to be favourite gifts from my sisters, but I too only cook a handful of recipes, mostly from memory. Your Sweet Potatoe & Brocolli soup is yummy and one of the easiest recipes ever.

    Are pippies like cockles? I remember them being gritty too but great fun to gather.

  13. says:

    So glad you had a lovely holiday! Banana baked goods are always so yummy.

  14. says:

    I just spent last evening baking Nigella’s banana bread to share as a birthday cake at my son’s playgroup. Totally yummy and completely devoured by mothers and toddlers alike (bit of a sugar rush at circle time though…) It’s a wonderful book and I’m sure you’ll have fun trying out the recipes, pregnancy immediately elevating you to total domestic goddess status. Agree about the sharing them out though. So sad that Amelia’s preschool bans home-made cake, surely that’s one of the joys of life? Far fewer additives, preservatives, colourings too. Grrr. Don’t ya just hate it when the men in grey suits take over? Oh well – here’s to more baking, and less fogs of gloom!

  15. My mouth is watering… do you think it’s ok to have cake for breakfast?!

  16. says:

    I was getting despondent that you lot had disappeared somewhere forever! Missed your blog. The preschool cake rule sounds truly hideous (industrial kitchens – bah humbug – you need a good garish Women’s Weekly cookbook birthday cake that’s all wobbly, glued together with masses of butter icing and studded with lollies and made with love).

  17. I should add though, that if I had a child with allergies, I would be much relieved by the no home made cakes rule – as people can be so vague about what they added – or where and how they prepared it. So even though it is sad, I fully support it.

  18. says:

    Hi there….I love reading your blog!I just got the Nigella Lawson cookbook…..have made the banana bread recipe several times…and it’s always deelish! Try adding chocolate chips!

  19. It’s funny how when you cook in a bad mood of some sort the food always comes out tasting crappier than it ought to… Have you ever seen Like Water for Chocolate? (Also mentioned in J & J) Good luck with the cooking! All sounds very theraputic and romantic.

  20. says:

    The Nigella books are awesome! There is actually a girl in Melbourne who is doing all the recipes out of “How To Eat: The Pleasures and Principles of Good Food” in a year and detailing all the recipes and adventures, you can check it out here
    Lots of photos and good descriptions about what does/doesn’t work and how she finds some of the more obscure items called for!

    Love your blog too by the way!

  21. I haven’t read Nigella’s cookbooks but I did zip through Julie & Julia in about three days while on holiday late last year and found it to be one of my top ten books. I’ve lent it out to so many people who have also enjoyed it. It does turn the mind to thoughts of year-long projects though … so be warned!

  22. That Nigella book is just awesome! It sounds like you enjoyed your time together with your family, it is always a pleasure to visit your blog.

  23. Just looking at sand makes me feel better. Glad you had a good week away. I love NLawson’s book – her Boxing Day Egg and Bacon Pie is really yummy. Happy cooking.

  24. once a year I make Nigella’s recipe for Peanut chocolate squares…totally indulgent..delicious and after eating most of it myself (little squares at a time) i don’t need it for another year!!

  25. says:

    This post is mouthwatering, as are the comments. Sad about all the inspiration for birthday cakes unused for the preschoolers, at my sons school candles are against the rules due to workplace health and safety concerns. luckly none of these rules apply to home.

  26. says:

    “cakes for birthdays must have been bought and prepared in an industrial kitchen ” – I always wondered who in the world buys those bithday cakes Woolworth is selling. Thanks for solving a miracle.

  27. the chocolate cherry cupcakes are a favourite at our house – simple to make and they always taste gorgeous. we also love the norwegian cinnamon buns. best wishes with your pregnancy xx