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December 2012 COTM -- How To Eat

By Nigella Lawson, this book's complete title goes on to say "The Pleasures and Principles of Good Food." So, we apply her principles this month and hope they lead to pleasure! (Her writing had me smiling for sure.)

If you'd like to know more about Cookbook of the Month all the past books are archived here:

The nomination and voting threads for this month are here:

Please post your principled and pleasurable reports in these threads --

Basics, Etc. 7 - 66
Cooking In Advance 79 - 117
One and Two 123 - 157
Fast Food 161 - 190

Weekend Lunch 199 -294
Dinner 300 - 362

Low Fat 381 -399
Feeding Babies and Small Children 416 - 455

I'm delighted to have an excuse to buy one of those big glass trifle dishes.

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  1. Short and sweet. Thanks BlueRoom. Christmas trifle is a delight...

    2 Replies
    1. re: Gio

      I've been looking at trifle bowls, they're classy but I'm leaning toward going without -- the expense isn't the problem (perfectly nice ones are affordable) but the ((((bloat bloat SPACE))) one would use is a real consideration. The dessert will still get made, I can't wait to choose the liqueur/liquid I'll use to soak the cake/brioche!

      Off topic -- the difference between crostini and bruschetta -- ? Would I put certain toppings on one and not the other? Why?

      1. re: blue room

        BlueRoom the difference is the bread.

        Bruschetta refers to the Italian word "bruscare" which means "to roast over coals" and is made by toasting whole, wide slices of rustic Italian bread. The toppings are simple, not complicated.

        Crostini are sliced and toasted from bread that is more or less like a baguette. Smaller, finer crumb, etc. More refined, if you will. Toppings for crostini are usually more complex than those of bruschetti, with stronger flavors.

    2. Thank you blueroom! I posted an adjunct thread for all other Nigella recipes here:



      1. I've been going through HTE cruising for recipes I think I'd like to make and I haven't seen one hint of broccoli or cauliflower. Cabbages yes, lots of potatoes, some green beans, even Belgian endive. Curious.....

        Has anyone?.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Gio

          Gio, on page 376 of my US edition there is just a short paragraph, not really a recipe, for cauliflower. Dusted with cumin and roasted in a hot oven -- it's in the "Low Fat" section.

          1. re: blue room

            Ahhhh.... that's good to know and right up my alley. Thanks, BR.

          2. re: Gio

            If you happen to have Nigella Express there is a recipe for broccoli and stilton soup. Found it online at http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/b...

            1. re: LulusMom

              Oooh, I do have that book LlM and that soup sounds sensational!! Thank-you.

          3. I've been eyeing the beluga Lentils Braised in Wine from Feast. The recipe is also online here:


            1. It appears that Nigella has a great selection of recipes from her books online at her website. Here's a link in case folks are interested:


              1. Something else I figured may be worth noting. I believe that the UK and US versions of the book may have recipes on different page numbers so it might be worth mentioning which edition of the book we've cooked from when we post our reviews.

                Also, for EYB users, if you're in the habit of reading EYB reviews to help you decide on a recipe, I learned something recently that's worth sharing. EYB will only show you reviews for recipes from the edition of the book you own. So with Nigella's books, many have been published in the US and UK and EYB does not amalgamate the reviews.

                Jane has provided an explanation here:


                I ended up removing the Canadian edition from my shelf and adding the UK version (which had the most reviews) just so I'd be sure to see them. Unfortunately, I still won't see reviews from folks who have the US version so I'll have to try to remember to search for recipes in the Library vs my Bookshelf.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                  Hey Breadcrumbs, just wanted to point out that you can have multiple editions of a book on your EYB bookshelf, so you have access to the notes on each when you search among your books during this COTM (or thereafter) if you wish to.

                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                    Hi Caitlin, thanks for that idea. I may do that if there are instances where multiple versions of a book have lots of reviews. Its funny I hadn't noticed it until this month. For this month I've just put a sticky note inside my book reminding me to put the Cdn book back on my shelf and remove the UK one at month end and, I've listed the recipes that are reviewed in EYB but that I won't see because they're not in the UK edition.

                2. A couple of the recipes I'm interested in trying call for lamb noisettes. Is this the same as a boneless lamb loin chop?

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: BigSal

                    From what I can gather from the net it's a round cut from either a fillet or leg. It's rolled and tied... but here's a page of definitions...


                    I too am interested in the noisettes. Apparently it's a British term?

                    1. re: BigSal

                      Yes, BigSal, that is what I know as "noisett" - a little steak cut out of a lamb chop. I believe this is a French term.

                      1. re: herby

                        Thanks to everyone for your responses. I'll think I'll try a boneless lamb chop and see how it works.

                      2. re: BigSal

                        From Patricia Wells:

                        Noisette: hazelnut; also refers to small round piece (such as from a potato), generally the size of a hazelnut, lightly browned in butter. Also, center cut of lamb chop. Also, dessert flavored with hazelnuts.

                        She has a glossary of French food terms --


                        Wow, when was the last time you reduced a potato to small round hazelnut-sized pieces and browned them lightly in butter!?

                          1. re: blue room

                            This potato dish was a specialty of my past French BF - these were the potatoes that went with steak; Yukon Gold's, diced to the size of, well, a hazelnut, and sauteed for a very long time tossing on occasion in butter and light olive oil until well golden on all sides. This took a good 30-40 minutes to do properly. Delicious!

                            1. re: gingershelley

                              tiny tiny brand new 'red' potatoes that are the size of hazelnuts when they come out of the ground are wonderful fixed this way -- only way to get them this small is to grow them yourself - the 'new Red potatos' in the stores are many times too large -- and let the butter brown a bit

                          2. re: BigSal

                            I have marked to try the Lamb with Garlicky Tahini that calls for noisettes and I planned to just use thick loin chops. The meat is seared and roasted which it seems to me would work just as well whether bone in or bone out. And since I have these beautiful, thick loin chops from Costco it just seems a shame to cut out the noisette.

                            1. re: JoanN

                              That's one of the recipes I'm interested in trying. Looking forward to reading your report.

                              1. re: JoanN

                                I want to make this too, JoanN, and I wouldn't want to waste having the chance to gnaw on the bones:)!

                            2. I have a question. There's a recipe for (pork) Char Siu in the Low Fat section of the book. In the Cdn version it's on pg 399. In the last paragraphs of the recipe, NL refers the reader to another page for ideas on how to use the pork. In my book, the page # is incorrect (says p. 38 where there's a recipe for Rich Pastry Dough.

                              Does anyone know which section of the book this info is in?

                              12 Replies
                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                Was looking at exactly that the other night. I coudn't find it either. Page numbers are the same in the US edition. Hope the UK edition can clarify the issue. No idea what she had in mind to do with the Char Siu.

                                1. re: JoanN

                                  Odd isn't it Joan. No cross reference in the index either.

                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                    According to this
                                    http://www.labellecuisine.com/archive... (see the last sentence) she might mean her chili beef soup, page *381*. Sometimes uses the pork!

                                    1. re: blue room

                                      Looks like you were absolutely right blue room...see lilham's post below. Thanks so much!

                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                        I love a mystery -- as soon as I saw the problem last night I was on it --but Google makes short work of sleuthing. (I have only the US version.)

                                2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                  In the UK version, the char siu recipe refers to p425, which indeed is the aromatic chilli beef noodle soup. It's the last paragraph of beef noodle recipe that mentions the char siu.

                                  1. re: lilham

                                    Thanks, lilham. In the US edition the Chili Beef Noodle Soup is on page 381. So the page reference in the Char Siu recipe was just a typo: should have been 381, not 81.

                                    1. re: JoanN

                                      Ditto for the Canadian version. Thanks lilham, mystery solved and I've made a note in my book.

                                  2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                    I wonder how many other page numbering issues we're going to have with the US Edition. I can't remember which recipe I was looking in the very early pages, but in one she literally refers to you page x. Fortunately whatever it was was easily found in the index.


                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                      There is a "page x" in the book, but it's the Table of Contents..

                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                        Funny..! And I actually had a referral to page xx last night. I'll have to go back and find out which page it's on. I was looking at soups at the time. US edition.

                                    2. Just got my copy from the library. Already want to make the spinach salad. Love the way she writes- so English and funny.

                                      1. I'm wondering if anyone has actually cooked an entire menu from the Lunch and Dinner chapters yet?

                                        I feel like I'm very late to the party (like, most of the guests already left) but I'm finally setting out to cook something from this book. We're having a dinner party tomorrow & I will be cooking the Mildly Wintry Dinner for 8. Will post my results in the appropriate thread but I thought I'd ask here if anyone has any tips for me ahead of time. I've never actually made a meal that has separate courses like this one does (an onion tart with a salad, followed by fish with mushrooms & pumpkin puree, and then a cake, which I baked ahead of time as instructed, and still need to figure out what to serve it with, as Nigella is very vague on this point...)

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: geekmom

                                          I don't think you need to serve it with anything else, unless you are thinking about wine. If you want more carbs I guess you can have roast potatoes with the fish. (Mash might be too marshy).

                                          I have done a whole meal but only from the fast food chapter.

                                          1. re: lilham

                                            OK, that makes sense. I guess I was just thinking the slice of cake wouldn't look very exciting on the plate on its own, but Nigella cautions against adding any richness (ie ice cream, clotted cream etc) and then puts some vague comments about berries. I have some frozen blueberries & cherries but if I let them defrost they will run all over the place, but if I cook them a bit with some sugar they might be too sweet... Maybe just a small dollop of whipped cream without sugar added? The cake is VERY rich - there is so much butter in the mix that it oozed out of the pan and onto the bottom of my oven while it baked!

                                          2. re: geekmom

                                            Agreed that this is all you need (Nigella provides a wine suggestion too, a "Spanish red") and you picked a nice dinner menu!
                                            It sounds delicious -- will you be using monkfish?

                                            1. re: blue room

                                              Thanks! I have a Rioja here so I plan to serve that, and I will try hard to get monkfish tails like Nigella suggests. I have never cooked it before, and am excited about trying it. I also love mushrooms and really like the sound of the mushroom side dish for the fish.