'Forget starters and shoes!' Nigella Lawson is in Sussex to dish up the secrets of a successful dinner party
- Credit: Supplied by Brighton Dome
Ahead of her appearance at Brighton Dome tomorrow Nigella Lawson explains how she survived lockdown by writing a book and cooks for her guests in bare feet
Nigella Lawson has never been hungry for company. She enjoys solitude and while most of Britain hated the lockdowns during the pandemic, she put the time alone to good use.
The TV cook wrote her latest book, Cook, Eat, Repeat during the first lockdown and is now touring the country with it while dishing out her top foodie tips.
'I didn't ever feel lonely,' Nigella, 61, says of that time being cooped up at home. 'I'm very lucky that I enjoy solitude, so even though I spent several months alone, I was aware that I am incredibly fortunate.
'Of course it was hard not to hug my children, but so many people really suffered, either with their health, facing their own illness and death, or that of those they love, and struggled to make ends meet, or had to risk their well-being by going to work, so I am just inordinately grateful.'
Over the four months it took to write the book, which celebrates the recipes she cooks the most, Nigella had to change the original idea after the nation had to socially distance and stay at home because of rising cases of Covid-19. More people found themselves isolated and Nigella decided to also cater for them.
'I had to rejig the book quite a big,' she explains. 'I chose recipes that, in one form or another, I return to often. I dumped a chapter on entertaining which was called (dizzyingly inappropriately in the new world we found ourselves in) “How To Invite Friends to Supper Without Hating Yourself (or Them)!” replacing it with “Much Depends on Dinner” about family suppers.
'I also added more recipes for one, and supplied directions for making some of the serves-4 recipes suit those cooking just for themselves.'
Eat, Cook, Repeat is more than just a collection of recipes, however. There are morsels of lyrical, poetic passages alongside the usual method and list of ingredients.
'For me the recipe form is a highly-charged autobiographical form, so I don’t feel that there is a distinction to be made between memoir and recipe book, ' Nigella admits. 'And I certainly feel that Cook, Eat, Repeat blends the two forms from the get-go.
The cook is famous for her get-togethers with dinner guests including Jemima Khan and Pierce Brosnan. So what are her top tips for hosting a dinner party at home?
'Wear flat shoes (or none at all!),' she says. 'Don’t do starters and make sure there is enough on the menu that can be prepared in advance so that the evening isn’t made stressful by having to get everything ready as people arrive. And remember that not everything has to be piping hot and ready at the same time.
An Evening With Nigella Lawson is at Brighton Dome on Wednesday 24 November. Book tickets: brightondome.org / 01273 709709