Cook Like a Man
by WILLIAM SHAW attitude led her late husband, columnist John Diamond, to claim that Nigella was a gay man trapped in a woman’s body (a rather curvacious body, we might add).
Nigella, who at the moment is rattling pans over her stove, agrees. “I think I’m a man. I don’t want food you can eat only a little bit of. I like a hunk of meat,” she says, slipping into the reflexive flirtiness that makes her TV cooking shows such compelling viewing.
Asked to cook a meal for GQ, Lawson is busy in the kitchen of the rather posh London house she shares with her boyfriend, millionaire art collector and advertising baron Charles Saatchi. On the menu today? The well-bred British celebrity chefdaughter of Nigel Lawson, chancellor of the exchequer under Margaret Thatcher, and sister of Dominic Lawson, editor of Britain’s toppermost establishment newspaper, The Sunday Telegraphhas decided on sausages and mash.
It’s very British. As the paean goes: “When love is dead Ambition fled And Pleasure, lad, and Pash You’ll still enjoy A sausage, boy A sausage, boy, and mash.”
Lawson exhibits that upper-class-Brit liking for all things common. Taking four Cumberland sausages from her fridge, she insists that everyone likes sausages but that women are just more afraid of them. Plus, she adds, sausages are easy to cook.
And ease is much of what Lawson is about. Hence the bag of frozen peas she has just pulled from the freezer. British food writer Nigel Slater once described Lawson as “the queen of the frozen pea.” It’s a title she stoutly defends: “Unless you grow the peas yourself, there’s no advantage in fresh peas. They go starchy within a day of being picked.” With the potatoes just about boiled and the sausages under the broiler, Nigella returns to the topic of food and men. She says she scorns any attempt to use food to woo lovers.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or beef drippings 1 medium onion, sliced very thin
1 teaspoon ground cumin Scant tablespoon sugar
2 scant tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups beef or veal stock
1/2 cup red wine
Makings for mashed potatoes
1) Heat the oil over low heat in a heavy-bottom saucepan. Add the onion and cook for about 10 minutes until soft, stirring occasionally. Stir in the cumin and cook for 5 more minutes.
2) Increase the heat to medium and add the sugar. Let the onion caramelize (about 3 minutes). Still stirring, add the flour and continue stirring for about
2 minutes. Add the stock and the wine and stir while the sauce comes to boil. When it does, reduce the heat and continue cooking uncovered for 30 minutes.
3) Make the mashed potatoes with lots of butter, cream, salt and pepper.
4) Broil 8 good-size pork sausages (Cumberland, if you can find them).
5) Serve the sausages and mash with the sauceand frozen peas, of course.