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A New BritBox Favorite: Nigellissima!

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http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/WP/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/71STZlukUDL._SX600_-300x225.jpgRecently I needed something to watch while painting my nails and dove into the cooking section of my BritBox subscription.

Obviously I can’t touch things while the lacquer is drying so it has to be something I don’t need to fast-foward or skip around in. Rural Bucolic Murder Shows are right out. The documentary and lifestyle section, however, is lovely.

BritBox, which we’ve written about before, is a subscription streaming service from the BBC and ITV, full of…you guessed it: British tv shows. I’m partial to the nature p0rn programs, especially Landward, which combines absolutely gobsmacking nature p0rn with glimpses into rural Scotland (a recent segment paralleling the complete sense of dread and fear surrounding COVID to the decimation of Scotland’s livestock farms from Foot and Mouth Disease in 2001 was incredible watching).

Then I found Nigellissima!

Y’all. This is The Horniest Food Show I Have Ever Seen.

Originally broadcast in 2012 on the BBC, I believe in support of the cookbook by the same name, Nigellissima! takes the garden-variety winky-wink food flirtation of your standard Nigella Lawson broadcast and cranks it all the way up. Hot oven on fan, is what I’m saying here.

And not only is the food really something (I’ve already made two of the recipes, and have another on hold for this summer), but the music is, no lie, wonderful. It’s 70s porno music. There’s no winking about it. It’s elegant and pornographic at the same time. It’s GLORIOUS.

So of course I messaged Shana and said, “You have to watch this.”

Which of course she did.

We’ve been exclaiming at each other about this show on and off for weeks. There are only seven episodes so you have to portion them out, lest you overdose on Voluptuous Mayonnaise. (Yes, that is a thing she says and it is now the name of my cover band, thanks.)

It’s so horny, this show.

Watch out for Nigella’s strict stipulations, everyone.

Shana: I may have snuck out of work early to drink tea, eat cherries, and watch the first episode.

This is so horny. It might be the sexiest food show I’ve ever watched… I think she’s already said voluptuous three times and I’m only 20 minutes in.

Sarah: It’s impeccably horny, isn’t it?

Shana: I love this show so much. Have you actually made any of the recipes?

I think in the last recipe she said, we’re going to use a lot of garlic, and then pulled out 2 cloves. I love the English palate.

Sarah: Yes, we made the risotto with barley and saffron. Delicious but needed more umami/bass.

Bass as in opposite of treble, not bass as in fish.

Shana: VERY important clarification. That risotto looked REALLY good. My luscious lady-love can’t eat barley or I definitely would have made it.

Sarah: I think we need to share our Favorite Nigellissima! Moments. Folks need to be tempted and warned. Which does seem on-brand, now that I’ve typed that.

Yogurt Pot Cake

Sarah: Watching her make this yoghurt cake is an experience. She’s said thick like nine times and we are about six minutes in.

Shana: She’s making a yogurt cake while talking about a thick, firm…snow of egg whites. Omg.

Nigella claims the batter is just so luscious, thick, and oozy…after her “vigorous and violent beating.” Whoever writes for this show is a genius, and I hope it’s Nigella.

Also, I bought a black cocktail dress over the weekend, and my first thought was, I’m going to wear this to the farmers market and pretend I’m Nigella.

Eggs in Purgatory

Alas, I don’t have a clip of the yoghurt pot cake, but I do have another clip to share from Nigellissima! that’s plenty illustrative of the low-key brilliance of this production.


Salty Juices

Sarah: Shana.


She just said “suck in some of those gorgeous salty juices”

I am on the floor now.

Shana: Nooooooooooo


Sometimes you just need to bring the subtext out in the open

Sarah: No subtext here, no, ma’am.

Shana: I actually really love how she wields her cooking sex kitten image with such power and precision

Sarah: Omg, yes, YES exactly that. She owns her motif and she has a sense of humor about it, too.

Shana: Yes! The sense of humor is key. It doesn’t feel like it’s something forced upon her, like it did when people drooled over a bemused Padma Lakshmi in the first season of Top Chef. Like 2021 Padma, Nigella just radiates sexy power.

Sarah: Right! Yes!! She is in on the joke and she’s making it bawdy under her own authority and control. Motif might have been the wrong word but I have had a fair amount of champagne.

Shana: Ha! Nigella would approve.


A Lockbox of Licorice

Shana: Ok, Nigella just pulled out her black leather sex toy kit, which was actually filled with black licorice. Thank you so much for introducing me to this show!


Sarah: I was waiting for you to get to that part!!

That was absolutely the most over the top thing.


Y’all. We’re not even kidding.

In The Very Suggestive Pantry, Nigella pulls out (heh) a black tackle box filled with licorice, or as they say in the UK, liquorice.


A multi-level lockbox of candy.

Shana: She started murmuring about pleasure and pain while stroking the lockbox and my mouth fell open. I definitely want to make that ice cream cake with chocolate and raspberries soon. I was tempted by the licorice pudding but I’m concerned that I’m just being emotionally manipulated by Nigella’s dominatrix ways.

Sarah: Fair concern. I want to make the mini tiramisu, but the licorice is not for me.

Slick it in Oil

Shana: And then we get to the no-stir farro risotto, which apparently makes Nigella “want to slick it in oil.”

I’m now imagining the little brown grains oil wrestling each other.

Is it getting hot in here?

This is the same episode where every dish seems to involve slowly, tenderly, massaging something with olive oil.

This is great timing, because I was just gifted with two bottles of fancy olive oil. I’ll think of Nigella while I work out any tension in my oil-marinated lamb chops.

Sarah: There’s chocolate olive oil cake, too!

Sarah: And now that I’ve finished all the episodes, I’ve put the cookbook on hold at my local library so I can read all the recipes and pass out from the exquisite bawdyness of it all.

Nigellissima! was easily one of my favorite food program discoveries this year. What did you think?

Shana: I agree! It was sad when the episodes finished. My wife had begun plaintively asking if it was “Nigella time.”

Like Nigella, I had a formative eating experience as a broke 20-something in Italy, and I loved how she leans into her middle-aged nostalgia in the show. I’m always down for sexy midlife representations.

Pandemic cooking can be dreary, but Nigellissima! is just ridiculous and entertaining, and the recipes look easy too. This show has me excited to cook for fun again.


You can find some of the recipes from Nigellissima! on Nigella Lawson’s website, and the BBC website. There are some clips on YouTube, and the complete series on BritBox.



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