Nigella: Sim­ply divine

Nigella Law­son knows that some­times the best meals are the ones that don’t take much time, writes SHAN­NON MOLLOY

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - NEWS - SIM­PLY NIGELLA TUES­DAY, 8PM, ABC

CELEBRITY chef Nigella Law­son could be just about any­where in the world, but grate a lemon zest and she’s in­stantly trans­ported back to Italy.

It was there that Law­son (pic­tured) ven­tured in her gap year af­ter school, know­ing no one but want­ing to ex­pe­ri­ence Florence. To this day, that dis­tinct cit­rus scent makes her mind fondly wan­der back to Tus­cany’s his­toric cap­i­tal.

“I im­me­di­ately feel up­lifted by the smell of lemon,” Law­son says. “I re­mem­ber liv­ing there [Italy], see­ing the lemon trees, and it’s an in­stant hit of joy.

“It’s the same kind of thing with roast chicken – that smell re­minds me of my mother’s kitchen when I was a girl, and I get great com­fort from that. Ac­tu­ally, she used to squeeze a lemon and put it in­side the chicken, so maybe that’s why those two are so spe­cial.”

Law­son de­scribes smell as an “in­tense trans­mis­sion of emo­tion”. Words aren’t nec­es­sary – a mem­ory comes flood­ing back and you’re left to “drink up what’s there”, she says.

“Not only do I take plea­sure in it, but it’s a way of pass­ing on the seed of hap­pi­ness to my chil­dren,” Law­son says.

“I think that’s an im­por­tant part of them cook­ing, too.”

It hasn’t been the eas­i­est time of late for the Bri­tish culi­nary queen, who has built an em­pire on TV shows in­clud­ing her lat­est, Sim­ply

Nigella, along with books and other busi­ness ven­tures.

In June 2013, she en­dured the very pub­lic break­down of her mar­riage, a bit­ter court case in­volv­ing two for­mer as­sis­tants charged with fraud and a se­ries of shocking rev­e­la­tions in the UK press. Af­ter dif­fi­cult or stress­ful days, Law­son says she gets great com­fort from be­ing in the kitchen and un­der­tak­ing process-driven tasks.

“I find stir­ring or chop­ping and stand­ing at the stove makes me feel quite calm,” she says.

“Food has this won­der­ful abil­ity to con­nect me with the world in a way that makes me feel grounded. Most of the time … do­ing some­thing that’s purely man­ual labour is a way of grab­bing a few mo­ments out of that non-stop world.

“Even if some­thing takes just 10 min­utes to cook, that’s 10 min­utes when you’re away from all the non-stop­pery of nor­mal life. That’s what it feels like for me. I think that’s why I strive for things to be sim­ple.”

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