“Nigella Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home”

Nigella Lawson’s new cookbook, “Nigella Kitchen” is a return to her signature focus on feel-good food for the way we eat today.

Quick meals, transforming leftovers (really!) and magical pantry staples that will never let you down. You get her lovely recipes, but also her reassuring and upbeat voice. She’s a can-do woman, who’s lived the craziness of a career and kids, but still manages to make it look effortless and even fun.

We were able to chat with the busy Nigella via email. Here’s some of her wit and wisdom on cooking and the kitchen.

Busy moms are finding it harder than ever to squeeze in cooking. What will we lose if we don’t at least try to feed our families without relying on fast food or carry out?
Well, I don’t want to lecture, as I don’t feel there is a moral component to cooking, but I know that personally, while getting a pizza delivered every now and again can be a lifesaver, I do feel a sense of connectedness when cooking simple meals for my kids that I would hate to give up. I don’t have as much time to spend with my kids as I’d like when my work gets frantic, so cooking something quick, easy and cozy has enhanced value for all of us, and the rewards are great while the effort is minimal. To sacrifice that too often would erode my happiness and the family spirit.

What’s your favorite trick to get a delicious meal on the table quickly on a weeknight?
I don’t put pressure on myself to make food that is laborious, time-consuming or relies on frequent shopping, impressive variety or too many ingredients. Finding time to shop AND cook can be the really difficult thing so I find it makes all the difference to keep as much in store that can aid a quickly thrown together meal without too much planning, for those nights when imagination and energy are in short supply.

What recipe from the book do your kids beg you to make?
My small pasta with salami is not only the meal my children most frequently ask me to cook, but since it is made with store cupboard ingredients, it’s the one I hastily conjure up when I, without any advance notice, find a kitchen full of hungry teenagers to feed. It is truly the busy mom’s kitchen lifesaver.

Tempted? Click here for the link to Small Pasta with Salami.

And if you want to meet Nigella, she has two local events on Wednesday, November 10. Luncheon at the Standard Club and a book signing at The Book Stall at 7 p.m.