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Updated: May 21, 2014 18:03 IST

Here’s what’s cooking

Shonali Muthalaly
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TV Nigella Lawson is back with a show on Italian food

By now you’ve probably tried at least one of her recipes. And you secretly admire how unafraid she is of butter, cream and midnight snacking. Nigella Lawson’s popularity is partly her languid personality and partly her ‘domestic goddess’ packaging. She makes cooking glamorous. She also makes it looks easy. This season she’s back on television with Nigellisima, showing viewers how to create fuss-free Italian food.

After writing so many popular cookbooks, does it get difficult to come up with new ideas? When you put together Nigellissima, what were you aiming for?

Italian food has become very popular worldwide, which is one of the reasons I wrote this book, which actually became a TV series. It’s incredibly simple and straightforward. And I believe even though purists may disagree, it lends itself to be incorporated into various cuisines of the world, because it’s a home cuisine. It’s also a regional cuisine. In other words if you come from one part of Italy you’re not going to cook the food from your neighbouring region. I feel then in many ways it makes Italians much more open to how their food is cooked. Anyone can cook Italian food in their own home and just as I incorporate my Englishness, an Indian cook could bring his or her Indianness into that fray. I don’t believe in fusion food in the way the restaurants concede it, but I think when we cook we bring our own culture and identity and fuse that with the food.

You’ve transformed cooking, stereotypically seen as domestic drudgery, into a sexy, colourful, therapeutic hobby. Did you grow up feeling this way about food?

I don’t think any of my food ever looks like it’s been done by an expert, but nor do I want it to. I feel very strongly that the best food is eaten at home and it isn’t about expert technique, but I derive enormous aesthetic pleasure from food.

Can we expect a book, or show, set in India sometime soon?

I’m a great fan of Indian food. We’re quite lucky in London particularly, well everywhere, but in England we do have quite a lot of sophisticated Indian food. It does interest me, in fact I’ve got a lentil and pasta soup in the book, though it’s not in the TV series. But even with something like eggs in tomato, you can easily add a bolder array of Indian spices and it will be absolutely delicious. English food is so influenced by Indian food, because of our shared history.

Nigellissima will air Monday – Friday at 10 p.m. starting April 15 on TLC

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