Do­mes­tic god­dess over­does the dishi­ness

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

WHY spend hours in the kitchen slav­ing over a hot stove when some sneaky short cuts com­bined with a dol­lop of slap­dash­ery can see one through? This is the premise of Nigella Law­son’s lat­est se­ries, which will have many har­ried home cooks break­ing into a round of ap­plause if only they had the en­ergy. Tonight the do­mes­tic god­dess makes Italy her theme as she talks us through pre­par­ing ef­fort­less yet glam­orous Mediter­ranean meals in min­utes.

‘‘ I love eat­ing and I love cook­ing but find it hard to fit ev­ery­thing in,’’ she says at the start of the pro­gram. But not for self-con­fessed lazy­bones Law­son a dash to KFC to stave off those hunger pangs.

In this episode she pre­pares dishes such as lin­guine with lemon, gar­lic and thyme mush­rooms; chicken cac­cia­tore; amaretto syllabub and more, all without break­ing a sweat.

Law­son sets to a plas­tic bag full of lamb chops with a rolling pin to meld the haunt­ing brini­ness of the olives against the sweet meat of the lamb chops as she pre­pares no-fuss Cal­abrian lamb cut­lets for an Ital­ian friend. Later, star­ing coyly at the cam­era, she de­scribes the glo­ri­ous musk­i­ness of the white pep­per she is sprin­kling over the lin­guine dish, be­fore mov­ing on to juic­ing a lemon, an­nounc­ing, ‘‘ I al­ways like a bit of im­pal­ing.’’

By now I am thor­oughly star­tled and thank god she hasn’t got a recipe where one of the in­gre­di­ents needs a damned good pound­ing with a mor­tar and pes­tle.

And I be­gin to won­der whether Law­son is start­ing to take this whole do­mes­tic god­dess thing a bit too far.

It’s a shame be­cause her food looks de­li­cious and, true to what it says on

Ef­fort­lessly de­li­cious: Nigella Law­son tack­les a dessert in the packet, the recipes in this se­ries are so quick and easy that even the most do­mes­ti­cally chal­lenged could make a fair stab at them.

It’s just that this con­stant sex­ing it up for the cam­era — the las­civ­i­ous side­ways glances, the in­nu­endo, the overt sen­su­al­ity — is, quite frankly, start­ing to put me off my din­ner.

It’s also too much of a stretch to sug­gest, as Law­son does in this episode, that a sim­ple an­tipasto spread can be pre­pared by nip­ping down to the lo­cal Ital­ian gourmet gro­cer and se­lect­ing a range of the finest sa­lumi, an­chovies, oc­to­pus sal­ads and the like, be­fore pre­sent­ing it to your gath­ered din­ing com­pan­ions.

Nice idea, but surely it would be cheaper to take the fam­ily down to the lo­cal Thai place, avoid­ing even the most rudi­men­tary prepa­ra­tions, not to men­tion all that en­ergy wasted on try­ing to look like a sex kit­ten while boil­ing the spuds.

Michelle Rowe

Nigella Ex­press

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