Part of Getting Your Home Ready For Christmas, for me, is cooking up a storm. It helps in making our home somewhere that our family loves to be, which, in turn, makes me feel happy. 

I don't think it would be an understatement to say that when I heard Nigella was bringing out a new book, Nigellissima, my squeals could be heard echoing around the whole of England.

And, not only was there a Nigella book in the offing, but it just happened to be launched when I was discovering quite how lovely Italian cooking can be. I was working my way through Gennaro Contaldo's Easy Italian when the news cam through that THE NEW BOOK was to be Italian-inspired. Huzzah!

{Let me start with a slight niggle before I get on with the serious business in hand: the photo on the front is waaahaaaaay too air-brushed. Nigella is one of the most beautiful people in the world. Are we really at the stage where we think even that level of gorgeousness needs perfecting? I guess we are. Sad face.}

Now, let me get off my soapbox, and dive into the pages of Nigella's ninth book of loveliness, Nigellissima: Instant Italian Inspiration.

The recipe I'm showing you here is Nigella's Quick Calabrian Lasagna. It's not completely straight-forward, in that there's more preparation time needed than ordinary lasagna (but perhaps far less needed than the full-on Calabrean version, who knows?!); however, it is completely delicious.

The inclusion of mozarella and eggs ensure that the lack of cheese sauce doesn't matter. Or, at least, the new version tastes so yummy that you don't notice a lack of anything.

As an aside, isn't peeling eggs one of the nicest jobs in the world? So bizarrely satisfying feeling the hard shell cracking to reveal the warm rubberiness beneath.

The first time I made this, I did have to keep checking which layer came next during the assemblage. Is it the ham, or the lasagna? Aaah, no, it's the mozzarella again. But, on subsequent occasions, it's come as easy as ABC.

And when the meal comes steaming out of the oven, wafting your home with it's warm and comforting smell? You can stand back and admire your Italian-inspired awesomeness.

 We all had seconds and we all fell back in our chairs, and were all fully and satisfyingly yummified.


There are oodles of recipes in here that make Nigellissima worth buying, including a whole chapter on Christmas. If you're feeling nervous then have a go at the hazelnut chocolate cheesecake - pip-squeakingly easy and oh-so-good!

Ultimate verdict: Nigellissimahas a well-earned place on my recipe-book shelf. Probably on the fancier end of my cooking style, which definitely leans towards the homely, but none the worse for that. Nigella's lyrical prose and drool-worthy range of recipes absolutely gets my vote.

And how could I do a post on anything Nigella-related without mentioning my all-time favourite recipe book: Nigella Christmas: Food, Family, Friends, Festivities?  Just getting this book down each November, planning, again, what we'll be eating, fills my heart with Christmas happiness. Is that angels singing?

Did you notice my new favourites from Polie Pottery? That jug? That lasagna dish? {from here and here, if you fancy dropping hints to Santa} Love. Love. Love.