Tuesday, December 29, 2009
I have heard so much good about How To Be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson. It's got gorgeous photos, Nigella is gorgeous and witty, and the recipes look delicious.
But. . .alas. The first recipe I tried out of the book was Christmas Morning Muffins (we're observing 12 days of Christmas around here, ok?). I followed the recipe carefully, only subbing 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour for some of the white flour and cutting the sugar back slightly.
But. . .yuck. They tasted like baking powder (THREE teaspoons!); they were hard and dry (probably the melted butter instead of oil that quick breads usually use); and despite what Nigella says, they are not loaded with dried cranberries at all. In fact, my toddler had a merry time dissecting his muffin to find the cranberries (I read the comics during this time).
My family ate them for breakfast anyway - I was the only irritated one. But I will try more recipes from Nigella; bagels are up next, I think.
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How to Be a Domestic Goddess was the first cookbook of my very own (the first in a cllection of well over a few hundred now), and Nigella Lawson is my hero in life.
However... i know EXACTLY what you mean about some of those recipes. The brownies are perfection, the italian almond cookies, not so much. About every other recipe I try of hers is a total disaster, and then i find a gem. I like to believe it is the American publisher's fault and that the conversions from metric are wrong (i refuse to believe that my darling Nigella has any faults at all, so making excuses for the bad recipes is practically a full time hobby).
I would suggest the sour cream chocolate cake and brownies. And with everything else, use your judgement. If it seems wrong, in my experience it probably is (stupid publishers... ;))
oh, thanks for the suggestions! And truly, this is the first I heard that some of Nigella's recipes are off. Really I've only heard glowing things.
And yesterday when I made my regular sourdough bread, I did what she suggested: added a little yeast before shaping the loaves. Got great!
I haven't had any trouble with any of her other cookbooks, just some of the recipes in Domestic Goddess. I can't claim to have made them all, but having come across a few with rather odd proportions (like your 3 tsp of baking powder)or crazy baking times, i just use my own judgement now when using it.
More positively- her victoria sponge cake has become a staple in my house and makes the perfect base for a strawberry shortcake. I also regularly make a breakfast bread of hers from Nigella Express and it is phenonemal. Now i'll have to try sourdough! Glad you found that tip!
Oh that sweet little face!!
Recipes that fall short are such a disappointment. Especially when one is a good cook for whom things usually turn out super.
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