Friday, 12 March 2010

Why I love Nigel Slater

I love Nigel Slater because his passion for food is so sincere and so unpretentious. This really comes through in his writing and, on listening to a recent edition of Radio 4's Food Programme, I was shocked to learn that he a) writes while he is cooking and b) hardly ever re-writes anything. Those are both admirable skills.

I currently own four of Nigel Slater's cookbooks: Real Fast Food, Real Fast Puddings, Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch and  Real Cooking. All of these books are wonderful in their own ways, but Real Fast Food is particularly great for those of us who work full-time because all the recipes can be made in about half an hour - as Nigel Slater himself points out, about the time it would take to oven-cook many ready-meals. And all the recipes are made from real ingredients and plenty of them are superbly delicious. Who needs Delia's cheat book?

I also love the fact that when he was writing this book he didn't have a very big kitchen (see the quotation in my side bar), which just goes to show that even in the tiniest of spaces you can make great culinary creations.
This is Wholewheat Pasta with Sausages, Mustard and Caramelised Onions from Real Fast Food. This has become a favourite in our house and has become one of those meals that I start to crave every so often. The combination of mustard, sausage and onion is heavenly and it is so quick and easy to make. I tend to use more sausage than Nigel Slater says in the book (because you can never have too much sausage).

I have to admit I have yet to make anything from Real Fast Puddings; I think working full-time means my priority is cooking dinners, but I will definitely endeavour to make more desserts. Tender is great for growing tips as well as cooking and is filled with so many wonderful ideas for vegetables - it is a must for veg-lovers. Real Cooking is good for classic dishes - I've done a lovely roast chicken recipe from it.

I have Suz at Serenely Full to thank for my discovery of Nigel Slater, as she was the one who recommended his books to me. Which cookbooks/chefs inspire you and why?


  1. That looks great - mustard and sausage is classic. Classic German, I imagine. I make something similar and I add collard greens or kale for some dark green.

    I am inspired by Jacques Pepin. I read his autobiography, and that made me fall in love with him even more than I already had. I have so much respect for his life as a chef, his training, and his awesome technique. I have only one cookbook that I have made several winners from. I have also made dishes taken from his television program. He is a pleasure to watch and he throws in pearls of wisdom that the serious home cook can really gain from.

    I will look into Nigel Slater.

  2. Oooh, yummy, Kale!

    I've never heard of Jacques Pepin but I am definitely off to google him now! I had a similar thing with reading Julia Child's My Life in France, which is so inspiring especially as she didn't start learning to cook until she was 36! Makes me feel a whole load better about learning to cook at 26.

  3. "I tend to use more sausage than Nigel Slater says in the book (because you can never have too much sausage)."

    Amen to that. I'm often guilty of upping the best ingredient of any dish. That pasta looks amazing. I'll be craving it all day now! I'll have to make it soon.

  4. I really love Nigel as well. He has a great voice in his books. I was reading in The 30-Minute Cook the other day and I marked a smily face next to his description of cooking garlic: "Quickly, so that it does not burn and become bitter, stir the garlic round the pan. As soon as it is golden brown (as opposed to brown brown)...."

    Years ago I bought a cookbook at a second hand store by Mary Jo Eustace. Apparently she was a food TV host in the nineties, but all I know is that the recipes really inspired me when I was first picking up cooking as a hobby. There are lots of calls for lime juice, fresh herbs, olive oil, salt, and freshly cracked pepper, and this was world's away from my Mum's cooking. It was an eye opener--and I still use the cookbook today.

  5. Looks fab. I was somewhat put off by Real Cooking, probably because it was those classics that I could already make. I have been watching his TV series and I have seen some lovely dishes. The pasta dish looks excellent!

  6. Although I've seen loads of his recipes, I've never actually had a look at any of his books - I shall remedy this next time I'm in a bookshop. I heard him on the Food Programme too.