The 20 best Nigella Lawson recipes: part 2 (2024)

Smoked haddock my mother’s way

My mother used to make this fairly often in my childhood, but mostly, I associate it with feeling under the weather: this is my idea – or rather my mother’s – of hand-on-the-brow comfort food. My mother always put a tomato cut in half in the dish, but I once, unaccountably, found myself at home and tomato-less, so bunged in some peas from the deep-freeze, instead, and was very happy with the innovation. You could do either or both, as suits you; fresh bread, thickly sliced and buttered, is non-negotiable, however.

It makes sense to give quantities per bowl and you can increase these to suit the number of people you’re feeding.

Serves 1
frozen peas 3 x 15ml tbsp
butter for greasing
smoked haddock 1 small fillet
full-fat milk 250ml
parsley a few stalks or sprigs, tied
tomato 1, halved
egg 1
freshly ground white pepper

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Put the frozen peas into a bowl and pour some freshly boiled water over them.

Grease a small ovenproof dish with butter and sit the smoked haddock fillet in it. Pour the milk over, drop in the parsley stalks, put in the 2 tomato halves, then find a space to crack in the egg.

Drain the peas, add them and give a good grinding of pepper before putting the dish into the oven. Cook for 10 minutes, if all your ingredients are at room temperature. If not, you may need 15-20 minutes. Do be careful, though, as you want the egg yolk to stay runny.
From Nigella Kitchen (Chatto & Windus, £20). To order a copy for £17, go to or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over £10, online orders only. Phone orders min. p&p of £1.99

Orange french toast

The 20 best Nigella Lawson recipes: part 2 (1)

There is not a type of French toast I don’t love, but this version – a kind of eggy, squidgy toast and marmalade – is the perfect mixture between morning-sharp and weekend treatiness.

Serves 2
eggs 2
orange grated zest of 1
full-fat milk 60ml
ground cinnamon ¼ tsp
white bread 2 large, thick slices or 4 smaller slices
orange juice of 1
marmalade 75g fine-cut, such as Tiptree Crystal
caster sugar 50g
butter 1 x 15ml tbsp

Whisk the eggs, orange zest, milk and ground cinnamon in a wide shallow dish. Soak the bread slices in this mixture for 2 minutes a side.

While the eggy bread is soaking, bring the orange juice, marmalade and sugar to the boil in a saucepan, then turn down the heat to a fast simmer for 3-4 minutes. If you need to, let this syrup stand while you cook the bread.

Heat the butter in a heavy-based frying pan and cook the eggy bread for about 2 minutes a side over a medium heat until golden.

Serve the French toast with some of the amber syrup poured over each slice, and a jug of extra syrup on the side.
From Nigella Express (Chatto & Windus, £20). To order a copy for £17, go to or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over £10, online orders only. Phone orders min. p&p of £1.99

Steak and kidney pudding

The 20 best Nigella Lawson recipes: part 2 (2)

You may think that a steak and kidney pudding made with a thick suet crust is not the sort of food you eat. All I can say is cook it and you’ll change your mind.

Contrary to most people’s preconceptions, suet gives the crust an almost ethereal lightness. True, this is only the case if it’s eaten immediately – any standing around and it seems to seize up and gain thick-set density – but eat fast and it’ll still be delicious when you get round to second helpings. I always use vegetable suet, as I don’t like eating meat products whose derivation I do not know. The only thing I’d add is that while suet crust is very easy to make, you must make it at the last minute.

As for equipment: life is very much easier if you buy a plastic pudding basin with a fitted lid than if you use a traditional basin and make a pleated foil lid and string handles. You don’t need to steam the pudding: you can simply immerse it in a large pan of boiling water.

I often double the quantities for the meat filling, then freeze half, so I’m only a defrost away from another pudding. Traditionally, oysters were added to steak and kidney pud; I thought a little oyster sauce might be an appropriate contemporary adaptation, and it was, rewardingly so. And I happened to find some beer called Oyster Stout which seemed entirely right for it too, but it’s hardly essential: any stout in a storm ...

I always cook the meat filling a day or two in advance: the flavours deepen wonderfully and the whole thing seems less of a performance.

Serves 6 generously
For the filling
flour 2 x 15ml tbsp
English mustard powder ½ tsp
stewing steak 500g, cut into 2cm pieces
lambs’ kidneys 250g, cut into chunks
butter 25g
olive oil 2 x 15ml

onion 1 medium, chopped
flat mushrooms 150g (ie 2 medium-sized), peeled and roughly chunked
beef stock 150ml
stout 150ml
oyster sauce 1 scant x 15ml tbsp

For the suet crust
self-raising flour 350g
salt ½ tsp
suet 175g
English mustard powder ½ tsp
3-litre plastic pudding basin with lid both well buttered

The 2 hours of steaming – which involves little activity on your part – seems less of a consideration when separated from the pudding’s preparation. So, preheat the oven to 140C/gas mark 1, season the 2 tablespoons of flour with salt, pepper and the mustard powder, and put it into a plastic bag along with the steak and kidney. Seal it, and toss everything about to get an even coating of flour.

Warm the butter and oil in a casserole and brown the meat (including the kidney) in batches, removing each to a dish. Fry the onion in the pan, then add the mushrooms and fry them briefly, adding more oil if you need it. Put all the meat back into the casserole and over a medium heat add the stock, stout and oyster sauce. Bring it to the boil, scraping any floury bits off the bottom. Cover with a lid and cook in the preheated oven for 1½ hours. When it’s cooked, check the seasoning and put aside to cool.

About 2½–3 hours before you want to eat, fill a large saucepan with water and bring to the boil. When it begins to boil, start making the pastry, and not before. Mix the flour, salt, suet and mustard powder in a large bowl; then, stirring with a wooden spoon, add enough cold water to make a firm dough. Roll out on a floured surface into a large circle, approximately 5mm thick, and cut away a quarter segment from the circle to use later as the lid. Ease the three-quarter circle of pastry into your buttered pudding basin; there should be about 3cm of overhang. Spoon the cold filling in, not letting it come up higher than about 2cm below the rim.

Roll out the quarter segment into a small circle to fit the top and seal it with the overhanging edges. Clip on the basin’s buttered lid, immerse it in water or place it in a steamer over water and leave it there for 2 hours, remembering to check water levels occasionally.

Turn the pudding out onto a plate with a good lip, or some sort of shallow bowl: there is a wonderful moment when, like a bulldozed building, your pudding begins to crack and crumple and then cascades downwards; you need to make sure every thick oozy bit of stout, beefy liquid is safely contained.
From How to be a Domestic Goddess (Chatto & Windus, £22). To order a copy for £18.70, go to or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over £10, online orders only. Phone orders min. p&p of £1.99

Fish and porcini pie

The 20 best Nigella Lawson recipes: part 2 (3)

Fish pie is not particularly labour-intensive to cook, but it’s hard to get right: if the flour/butter/milk balance is off, the sauce bubbling beneath the blanket of nutmeggy mashed potato can be too runny or too solid. Don’t let nervousness make you scrimp on the milk: it’s better runny than stodgy and even an imperfect fish pie is a delicious one. What’s important is not to make the sauce taste too floury (using 00 flour sees to that) and not to let your desire for something comforting blunt your appetite for seasoning. I added porcini because I’d been given some by my Austrian Aunt Frieda, who was coming for lunch. I wanted to use the mushrooms because she’d given them to me. But I also thought they’d add a creaturely muskiness, a depth of tone, to the milkily-sweet fish-scented sauce. They did.

This is how I made it. You can change the fish as you want.

Serves 4
dried porcini 10g
fish stock 300ml, preferably a good one from a tub
cod 175g, skinned
smoked haddock 175g, skinned
salmon 175g, skinned
full-fat milk 250ml
bay leaves 3
butter 60g
plain, preferably 00, flour 60g
floury potatoes 1.25kg
double cream 150ml (or 150ml milk with 60g melted butter)
nutmeg freshly grated

Cover the dried porcini with very hot water and leave for 20 minutes or so. Then drain the mushrooms and strain the soaking liquid into the stock. Choose the dish in which you will cook (and serve) the fish pie and butter it. I use an old, very battered, oval, enamel cast-iron dish of my mother’s, which has a capacity of about 2 litres. Put the fish in a wide, thick-bottomed pan – I use a frying pan, but anything that’ll take them in one layer would do – and cover with milk, the stock with its mushroom liquid and the bay leaves. Bring to a simmer and poach for about 3 minutes. Remove the fish to the buttered dish, and fork into chunks. Sieve the cooking liquid into a jug, reserving the bay leaves.

Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the dried soaked mushrooms, very finely chopped and any grit removed. Fry gently for 2 minutes, stir in the flour and fry gently for another 2 minutes. Off the heat, very slowly add the liquid from the jug, stirring with a wooden spoon or beating with a whisk (whichever suits) as you go. When all is incorporated, put back on the heat. Add the bay leaves and stir gently until thickened. If you’re going to eat it straight away, pour over the fish in the casserole. Otherwise, remove from the heat and cover with butter paper (the foil paper that the butter is wrapped in), buttered greaseproof, waxed paper or a film of melted butter.

You can boil and mash the potatoes with the cream and seasoning now (you want lots of salt and pepper), or you may have done them in advance. When you’re ready to roll, preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. The fish and mushroomy white sauce should be in the casserole, the potato on top, with more nutmeg, pepper and butter (little dots of it here and there) added just before it goes into the oven. Depending on how hot it all is before it goes in the oven, the fish pie should need about 20-40 minutes. Test as you go: this isn’t an untouchable work of art you’re creating; dig a hole, taste and then patch up with potato.
From How to Eat (Chatto & Windus, £20). To order a copy for £15.19, go to or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over £10, online orders only. Phone orders min. p&p of £1.99

Mustard pork chops

The 20 best Nigella Lawson recipes: part 2 (4)

I love the old French favourites, the sorts that evoke not the supercilious waiter and theatrically-removed silvered dome of the big-name restaurants, but rather the small town bistro, all warm wood and rough red.

This is possibly the easiest route to a proper, filling and yet strangely delicate dinner. The pork is cooked for just enough time to take away any pinkness but ensure tenderness within, and is gloriously scorched without. The mustard, cider and cream add comfort and piquancy.

To soak up the juices, and to act as a fantastically quicktime potato substitute, I serve up gnocchi alongside. You could always add lemony fennel, sliced thinly, or a green salad if you’re in the mood.

Serves 2
pork chops 2, approx 450g total
garlic oil 2 tsp
cider 125ml
grainy mustard 1 x 15ml tbsp
double cream 75ml

Cut the fat or rind off the chops, and then bash them briefly but brutally with a rolling pin between two pieces of clingfilm to make them thinner.

Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan and cook the chops over a moderately high heat for about 5 minutes a side. Remove them to a warmed plate.

Pour the cider into the pan, still over the heat, to de-glaze the pan. Let it bubble away for a minute or so, then add the mustard and stir in the cream.

Let the sauce continue cooking for a few minutes before pouring over each chop. If you’re having gnocchi, turn them in the pan to absorb any spare juices before adding them to your plates.
From Nigella Express

The 20 best Nigella Lawson recipes: part 2 (2024)


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