I’ve always been in awe of Nigella Lawson. She’s been on my ‘who would you have at your dream dinner party' list since long before I became a food writer. She embodies a natural, honest passion for food that’s as joyful as it is compelling.
For all those reasons, cooking one of her recipes to share with the Happy Foodie community was a little intimidating, but luckily everything in Nigella’s latest book Simply Nigella: Feel Good Food is, as always, easy to follow with beautiful results.
I watched the Simply Nigella TV series when it aired on the BBC earlier this year, and loved it. So many ideas, so little time!
Flicking through to choose a recipe for this feature, I was almost overwhelmed, page after page, the photography is gorgeous and everything sounds divine.
In an attempt to produce a shortlist, I ended up with no fewer than 14 post it notes dotted throughout the book - my top ‘must make’ list needed some whittling.
Forgoing the frankly heavenly sounding Liquorice and Blackcurrant Chocolate Cake for another day wasn’t easy, but I finally settled upon these pretty little Soda Bread Buns with Fennel Seeds and Cranberries.
Bread is not my strongest suit, but these are made without yeast, and there’s no proving or kneading to worry about, so they’re right up my street.
The recipe is beautifully simple, with each stage laid out clearly, and extra notes on how to make ahead, store and freeze, as you’ll find throughout the book.
My children, spotting the direction to mix with one’s hands, dove in to help, waving sticky fingers in each other’s faces and helping me tip the gooey mixture out on to the board to cut into pieces. Great fun.
And the result? Perfectly delicious buns which we enjoyed, as directed, with a generous slather of unsalted butter.
My youngest has never eaten fennel before, and I had doubts she’d eat these, but within minutes, everyone had demolished their buns and all that remained were crumbs. I’ll have to test the storage directions another time.