Nigella Express – EPISODE 4 – Workday Wonders

I love eating. And I love cooking. But like you,
I always feel I’m in a hurry and it can be hard
trying to fit everything in – children, work, family –
everything else life throws at you. And I am not prepared to sacrifice
a single meal. But I’ve got the answer –
in a word, it’s express. When you’re tired and up against it, the last thing you might think
you want after a long working day is to have people over for supper. But you know,
in the middle of the week it can be a real boost
to be surrounded by your friends. So I think the trick is this –
just make food that’s simple and, above all, fast, so that you send out a relaxing vibe
to your guests and to the cook. For mid-week comfort,
the classics get an Express makeover, so there’s coq au Riesling
followed by jumbleberry crumble. For my girlfriends I’ve got an elegant, effortless
crab and avocado salad. And then there’s
the almost instant dinner I make when I’ve hardly got time
to take my coat off. It’s lemon and thyme-scented steak
followed by Eaton mess. And it’s fabulous. I want to banish anxiety
in the kitchen. Cook the Express way
and I promise you, you will not be waking up
at four in the morning in a panic because you’ve got people coming over
for supper. Bagged, chopped, peeled, cubed,
infused, diced – these are the secrets that enable you
to cook the classics fast. And the classics
are exactly what you need for a mid-week supper party
after a long day at work. Take every short cut you can. Right, that’s everything. Coq au riesling and
jumbleberry crumble get my makeover for an Express dinner party. Then it’s the children to bed
and then relaxation and jubilation. This is for my coq au riesling, which is a simplified, streamlined
version of a classic coq au vin. So, I’m going to heat
on the casserole. I start with some garlic oil,
two tablespoons. This means you just don’t have to
do any peeling, chopping, mincing, crushing. My next lazy step
is 150 grams go in this. And soon all their gorgeous saltiness
will meld with the garlicky oil. And this, along with a leek, the onion’s skinnier cousin, will give the foundation for this. Now, this is a step I have to say
I should be embarrassed about, and that’s that I buy leeks
that are ready washed and trimmed. My mother would be so ashamed. I mean, I know peeling and chopping
an onion isn’t hard, but it can feel tiring at times. These gorgeous pale green discs
tumble in with the bacon. I love pink and green together,
such a beautiful combination. Now, this next step,
it’s not any simpler, but just speeds everything up. And that’s instead of using
a whole chicken that’s been jointed, I tumble in 12 boned, skinned
chicken thighs. Don’t need to sear the meat actually,
so that’s even easier. Everyone always goes on about
chicken breasts, but I think the brown meat
is so much better for flavour. Add three bay leaves. And I really can’t make that
any easier than it is. But what I can make easier is that
instead of getting little mushrooms that you have to peel and then slice, I get oyster mushrooms,
300 grams of oyster mushrooms, and just tear them in. I love food like this – old-fashioned, that just makes people
smell the welcome as they come in. And I have to say if I had been chopping and stirring
and stewing for three hours, I would not be feeling welcoming. That’s 300 grams of oyster mushrooms. And I know this dish
does look pretty piled up now, but it isn’t too full
because the mushrooms do cook down. I’m going to give
a little bit of a stir, not that it’s really necessary. And then add
a whole bottle of riesling. This dish is from the Alsace,
and riesling is from the Alsace. It has a glorious,
sort of citrusy, honeyed tang. A great favourite in the ’70s. Some salt. Not too much because
remember there’s bacon here. A bit of turbo-charged pepper.(GRINDER WHIRRS)This casserole is simplified not just
in terms of what you have to do, it’s really pared down
to its beautiful basics. And now all I need to do is let this
come to a bubble, turn it down and then leave it with the lid on
to simmer for about 40 minutes. And so that I don’t have
all that hassle with potatoes, I’m going to do
what they do in Alsace and just cook some noodles,
toss them in a bit of butter, and they will soak up
all those gorgeous juices. So here we are. It’s bubbling now. I just have to put the lid on,
low simmer, no effort. If you want to get food on the table
fast, it helps to think ahead. Now, obviously a freezer can be used
to stash entire meals. But I think it’s really helpful
just to keep key components. Breadcrumbs. Escalopes, anyone? Puff pastry –
any number of delicious things. Berries – any number again of
delicious things. Look how beautiful. But my favourite usage for these
babies is my jumbleberry crumble. And of course for a crumble
you need the topping – already there. And it’s so easy to make.
A lifesaver. I put 200 grams of plain flour
into a bowl. And I add
a teaspoon of baking powder. It’s not normal to do that, but I think it gives the crumble
a little more lightness. Next, I add 100 grams of cold,
unsalted butter, cut into small dice. And I rub the flour and butter
together. And by that I mean I press the flour
and butter together in my hands, using my forefinger
and my middle finger and pressing them
in a light, fluttering motion against the pads of my thumb. I carry on like that
until I’ve got a sandy rubble. It doesn’t take very long. Finally I spoon
six tablespoons of demerara, lovely crunchy demerara sugar
into this mixture. And that’s my crumble topping made. I call this jumbleberry crumble because in old-fashioned
English cooking when they made jams out of
whatever’s left in their hedgerows, they just called it jumbleberry jam. I love the sound of it. It’s so beautiful. You can see that these berries
are quite mounded up. And it’s because they’re frozen. And they will sink a little
as they cook, giving off their water. And it’s because of that that we need
two teaspoons of cornflour. In other words, I want to make a fruit sauce
out of the water, not just runny liquid, glorious and red though it is. Cornflour will absorb faster and it won’t give you the floury
taste that regular flour will. Everyone tells you you’ve got to make
all this into a paste. You don’t. I want four teaspoons
of vanilla sugar. By that, I mean
it’s sugar with some vanilla pods in. But if you don’t have that, just use ordinary sugar and then
a bit of vanilla from a bottle. Four teaspoons isn’t much, but I think it’s really important
that the fruit has a tart edge to it. After all, the crumble topping
is sweet. And there’s going to be cream
to help everything along later. Now, I mix this together a bit. I’ve used this copper
tarte tartin dish of mine, just because it was closest to hand,
to be frank. But you can use any pie dish
you want or have. And use any fruit you want.
I mean, I could go on. It’s just that I think
if you’re going for crumble, you want something old-fashioned
and comforting. So I don’t want strange new,
exotic fruits. I want these berries. Now a little strewing
of the crumble mix. Beautiful pale yellow against all
the different reds of the berries. Now, you can and probably should
break up any larger clumps, but leave
a good amount of clumpage here because if it’s all too fine
and sandy, it just won’t have the right
knubbliness that crumble needs. You can see a few berries peeking out
round the edge. But I love it when as it cooks, the red juices come up a bit
and flood the edges of the crumble. To the oven. Night-night, darling.
Don’t read till too late.I won’t.
(BLOWS KISS)As I serve each person
their bowl of coq au riesling, I like to scatter about
some aniseedy dill. It makes everything look, smell
and taste perfect. I love that sudden hit
of grassy green. Here we are. I hope you’re hungry.
MAN: Yes, we are. We’re starving.Then I will ladle over. Can I…? Can I deal you?
MAN: Yes, please.This is absolutely brilliant.Don’t be polite.(LAUGHTER)OK, guys.
I hope you’ve got some room left.MAN: Yes. Yes. Yes.It’s a bit messy.
You know I’m not a neat person.You’re getting jealous, aren’t you,
Yes, I am.(LAUGHTER)Ken, you have a neat and hungry look.
I’m the greedy one at the table.Come on, I’m going to give you
this last spoonful.MAN: He hasn’t finished his first.
He has.There was a pattern on this bowl
when I brought it out. I wish it had been just yours,
really. I don’t like to play
the favourites game. But, you know, if I had to choose
my numero uno after-work wonder, I think it would have to be
my crab and avocado salad with a Japanese dressing. It’s pretty well instant to make and it ensures
a roomful of gleeful girlfriends.What a nice feeling after work.I’m going to leave them upstairs because frankly I’ve got so little to
do it’s hardly worth unseating them. Just a light bit of chopping
and stirring. Mmm. I’ve got some crab,
some salad leaves. Frankly there’s not that much to do,
just a couple of things. I’ve got about 400 grams of crab
here. You just get it ready-cooked
from supermarkets. It’s ease itself. I’m going to souse the crab
with my Japanese dressing. And I call it Japanese just because
I use my Japanese ingredients. I’m starting off
with four tablespoons, or 60ml, whatever’s easier for you,
of mirin. And that’s kind of sweet rice wine. And to counter the sweetness
and to add a little tang I want two tablespoons
of rice vinegar. And now a fat squirt of wasabi, which is sort of
horseradishy mustard, very hot. Gloriously green. A teaspoon of coarse salt, although if you’re using table salt,
just half a teaspoon will do. Finally a few drops
of aromatic sesame oil. Lid on. And then shake
so that everything mixes. And pour most of this on. Mmm. I leave a few drops back
for the leaves later. And on top of that,
I want some fresh red chilli. Now, in fact you could use dried, but
I like to add a little fresh note. Anyway, I’m not going to be too
fastidious about the way I deseed. But I want to try and chop things
as finely as possible, just because that way they will be
dispersed more exuberantly. Although they could be chopped a bit
more finely, but I’m stopping now. In they go. Stir them to mix. Beautiful. And now…the leafage. I like rocket here
because I adore the pepperiness against the sweetness of the mirin
in the dressing. But really, whatever leaves you want
is fine by me. And I’ve saved up a bit of dressing
to sprinkle over, not too much. I am, however,
going to add some fresh lime. I know there’s rice vinegar there, but I want a bit more astringency
in the leaves. It’s a fabulous match
with the sweetness of the crabmeat. And now pile up the salad
quite generously. I want a good heaping of rocket. So I’m going to use
a couple of handfuls per plate. And now
this is a really important touch. I think few things go as well
with crabmeat as avocado. And I have
my own almost patented method for gouging out bits of the flesh. Use a small teaspoon, rounded one, and look, beautiful curls. And I adore that two-tone green. So now for the crab. I know that I normally
am very disparaging about chefiness. But just to show I am broadminded, I’m going in for
a little chefy moment of my own. So, using any old metal small cup, or you could use a ramekin, squidge the crabmeat in and then hope that as you… ..turn it out, you’ve got this rather
beautiful central column. I feel a knock-knock joke coming on. One more touch –
just a snip of chives, just a few. I want to snip some over the top. Oh, heavenly. OK, girlies.
Check it out.Thank you, darling.What’s this dressing?It’s a kind of
Japanesey type affair.It’s really good.I could eat rocket forever.You might get a bit bored. (GIGGLES) Just because it’s a work day doesn’t
mean dinner can’t be dazzling. I just like to do it all fast. And how’s this for a menu? Lemon thyme steak
followed by mounds of Eaton mess. And the thing is although
I don’t generally do a starter, I’ve been inspired by the wonderful
Anna Del Conte for some crostini. Follow me. These actually are
the crostini I first made ever. They’re chicken liver crostini
and they are delicious. But not the work of moments. And as you can see the ingredients
list is as long as the recipe. So, this is what I do. I allow myself to be inspired by Anna but I just bring my own lazy spin
to the business and I make these
green pea and avocado crostini. And this is how easy
these crostini are. Start with an avocado. And I know that avocados
do feature quite a lot in my everyday repertoire, but it makes sense. You don’t have to cook them
and they’re instant deliciousness. So I’ll scrape out the soft flesh. I like these Hass avocados,
the way it really scrapes. And I’m not going to start
apologising, but I am going to let you know that I am using marrowfat peas
in my green pea humus. Lots of salt and sugar,
why aren’t they nice? If the thought appals you, then just use
those slightly posher French peas that come in cans or bottles. Now the juice of a whole lime, but obviously it’s up to you. You know if you leave half,
it’ll just dry up. Some garlic. Not too much,
probably about half a clove. And because I’m not going to have
the processor on for very long,
it’s best to mince it in. This is not very hard work. I stop at the point at which
I’m about to grate my fingers. In it goes. Some salt… ..and a couple of passes. Heavenly. Still got
a bit of knubbliness. Traditionally crostini
are made on bits of bread that are lightly brushed with oil
and then toasted. But I keep things simple by buying
these little pumpernickel rounds. And then all you do
is spread each little morsel with a piling
of the green pea and avocado humus and arrange
on the platter of your choice. I come bearing offerings.(ANIMATED CHATTER)MAN: What are these?Got to admit,
they are seriously more-ish.OK, I’m going to be two minutes. I’m just going to go
and fiddle about with my steak. I love a bit of alfresco cooking. And I have to say,
if you’re having a barbie party, nothing can match up to my
steak slice with lemon and thyme. This is the steak. Now I’ll get on
with the lemon and thyme. I call it a post hoc marinade
because rather bizarrely I admit I marinade the steak
after it’s been grilled. The lemon element is provided by the zest and juice
of half a good-size lemon and just smelling the air as I zest
is fabulously fragrant. It’s such an easy recipe and so fast ’cause I just grill the steak
for about four minutes a side and then I put it
in this fragrant bath here for about another four minutes a side
and then slice very thinly. And the other great thing about this
is I use just one big steak. It weighs about 700-750 grams,
but that’s not really the point. Just think of it as 2.5 centimetres
thick. It’s one big rump slice. Need to get the thyme. How I love this herb.
I’ve got a decent-size bunch. Just strip the leaves off, although
a few stalks won’t do any harm. A couple of cloves of garlic
just bruised. Some olive oil,
really good olive oil. You’ll taste every bit of it. Quite a lot here. I want it to come about halfway up
the steak as it sits. Bit of salt, bit of pepper and I’ll be ready to rejoin
those reprobates upstairs.(GRINDER WHIRRS)And don’t worry
if you don’t have a barbecue because frankly
there are 364 days a year I cook this steak
on a griddle on the stove here. OK. Ready or not, here I come. OK. A few minutes
and you get your steak. You might need some more wine. I love a Desperate Dan-size portion. And the great thing
about a steak like this is it’s really a few minutes
each side and then I’ve got six people fed. This is going to be so fabulous. Mmm. I’m going to
take this off in a minute because I like my meat,
well, not quite mooing, but certainly very rare. Here we go. All this needs is a short fragrant
soak on the other side and we are so good to go. It’s going right now. OK, everyone, sit down,
help yourselves to salad. I’m going to carve
in a very, very amateurish fashion.So, what have we got here?
Rare? Medium-rare? What is it?I think it’s nothing
a good vet couldn’t pull round.(CHUCKLES)Anyone else want some?
WOMAN: Definitely.(ANIMATED CHATTER)That’s so lovely.
They are.In honour of your sweet tooth I’m going to rustle you up a special
pudding. It won’t take me long. Keep everyone chatting for me. If there’s one thing better than
strawberries and cream, it’s Eaton mess. And this is the thing really – when food is simple,
it can be spectacular. And you can really get this done
in a matter of moments. Obviously you don’t want to be
chopping up strawberries. And I’ve got
750 grams of strawberries here. On top of the chopped berries, three teaspoons of sugar, sprinkle it over. And the same amount,
about three teaspoons, of sour sweet pomegranate juice. You could get the same effect
by using balsamic vinegar. The Italians do that. A bit of a moosh about to encourage the strawberries
to yield their gorgeous juices. The second major ingredient
in Eaton mess is cream. 750ml. And I’ll whap this on pretty high
so it whips up. And I’ll just go and get the glasses. I want the cream
to be a softly aerated mass. I don’t want it beaten
until it’s stiff. This is perfect. Now, strawberries and cream
we know is a divine pairing, but I think
you can make it even better and that’s by crumbling in
some meringue. I use four store-bought meringues. And I don’t know if this true, but
this is called Eaton mess apparently because schoolboys at Eaton used to mush up everything together
in their pudding like, you know, some meringue,
strawberries and cream. I don’t care if it’s true –
it tastes good. And now I’m going to leave
a bit of strawberry mixture behind for embellishment later. But most of this can go in. And now gently mix
these three ingredients together so you’ve got
the white of the cream, the juicy red of the strawberry and little pink rivulets
rippling through. I mean, this is a dessert of dreams. And it’s something you can whip up
in the middle of the week without really giving any thought
beforehand. That’s what I love about it.
It always feels like a treat. Into each glass a luscious pile. You could serve this in one big bowl, but I rather love the way it looks
piled up in these champagne saucers. Or use martini glasses. I adore the way
it comes bulging up over the rims. And now a brazen blush
on each pale cheek. We’ll topple out
these juicy diced berries. They look lit up from within. And let some of the red juices dribble down the sides. Right, I’m going to
take the first two out and I bet you they won’t even have
noticed I’ve gone. OK, girls, you first.
Thank you.There’s some spoons in there.WOMAN: Divine.MAN: Thank you very much.
There you are.MAN: It’s crunchy.
Is there sugar in here?Meringue.
Ah.WOMAN: Quite nice with meringue.
MAN: It’s scrumptious.I like the way I said
I don’t really like…(LAUGHTER)Supertext Captions by Ericsson
(c) SBS Australia 2015

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