Soba Noodles with Sesame Seeds

So my love affair with Nigella continues unabated. Tonight’s dinner is going to feature her sake steak and these sublime noodles.

When she made these I knew I would make them one day. It’s the sort of savoury dish that I adore. And then someone mentioned two-minute noodles as a great afternoon tea option for kids but you see, I can’t come at two minute noodles, they just seem so, so very fake. So refined that the only goodness they’re giving you is the feeling of being full and well, I can eat cake, slice, chocolate, chips to do that.

So I made these instead and you know what? The whole thing took me four minutes – the time it took the noodles to cook. So ok, it was probably more like 10 minutes if you count waiting for the water to boil and then draining the noodles at the end, but still, they are so very good and so very nutritious who cares.

Nigella’s Soba Noodles with Sesame Seeds
Forever Summer, Nigella Lawson

  • 75g sesame seeds
  • salt
  • 250g soba noodles
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 5tsp soy sauce
  • 2tsp honey
  • 2tsp sesame oil
  • 5 spring onions*
  1. Toss the sesame seeds in a dry pan over high heat until they’re golden brown and then tip into a bowl
  2. Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add some salt and cook the soba noodles according the the instructions on the packet (mine – from Woollies – take 4 minutes), drain them and then plunge into a bowl of iced water
  3. In the bowl you’re going to serve them in, mix the vinegar, soy, honey and oil
  4. Finely slice the spring onions, add to the dish with the noodles and then give it all a good toss
  5. Add the sesame seeds and toss.

Nigella advocates leaving for half an hour for the flavours to develop, but I have no idea what that would be like as they were eaten immediately in our house.

* The first time I made this I didn’t have any shallots in the house so I used some very finely chopped Spanish onion instead. I think it would be far better with the spring onions and shall report back after tonight if that is the case.

Ode to Nigella 26 – Cream Cheese Brownies

So today I was going to make Nigella’s White Chocolate and Macadamia Brownies but I didn’t have quite enough white chocolate so I was thinking I was hilarious by adding a touch of milk chocolate and calling them dirty blondes. So much so I burnt the chocolate when trying to melt it. So I had to ditch that lot and start again and considering I now had no white chocolate it was the Cream Cheese Brownies instead. And that was certainly not a bad thing.

Cream Cheese Brownies
Nigella Lawson, How To Be A Domestic Goddess

  • 125g dark chocolate
  • 125g butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 75g plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 200g cold Philadelphia
  1. Preheat oven to 180C and grease and line a 23cm square cake tin
  2. Melt the butter and chocolate together and cool slightly
  3. Beat the eggs and caster sugar together and then add the chocolate mixture
  4. Fold in the flour
  5. Spoon half the mix into the tin and spread it to the edges
  6. Cut the Philadelphia cream cheese as thinly as you can and layer them over the batter
  7. Spoon over the remaining mix and ensure all the cream cheese is covered
  8. Bake for 20 minutes or so.

Ode to Nigella 24 – Brownies

Well, these started out as a disaster (they took more than double Nige’s suggested cooking time) and ended up as a triumph, which has only endeared them to me even more.


  • 375g unsalted butter
  • 375g best-quality dark chocolate
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1tbs vanilla
  • 500g caster sugar
  • 225g plain flour
  • 1tsp salt
  • 300g chopped walnuts
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line the brownie pan (measuring 33x23x51/2cm)
  2. Melt the butter and chocolate together in a large heavy-based pan
  3. Beat the eggs with the sugar and vanilla
  4. Measure out the flour in another bowl and add the salt
  5. Let the chocolate mixture cool a little before adding it to the eggs and sugar
  6. Add the nuts and flour
  7. Beat to combine smoothly then pour into the lined tin
  8. Bake for about 25 minutes*
  9. When it’s ready the top should be a paler brown speckle but the middle dark and dense. It is a big batch so you need to watch it.

Makes 48 smallish squares.
Variations – replace walnuts with different nuts or shredded coconut or white chocolate buttons or just ditch them altogether. I made them with half slivered almonds and half white chocolate buttons.

*I took them out of the oven after about 40 minutes and let it cool. Then when I cut into it, it was still just a gooey mixture. I was taking them out to dinner last night as a surprise birthday cake for my friend, but had to ditch that idea. I just dumped the whole tray back into the oven to deal with when I got home. Of course, that didn’t happen, so this morning, I just turned the oven on to fan bake rather than conventional bake and they took about 30 minutes to cook up a treat. I took them to a thanksgiving do at the park this afternoon and they were devoured. Devoured I tell you.

Ode to Nigella 23 – Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake

Let’s stay with chocolate shall we? I have a chocolate cake recipe which is on relatively high rotation because it’s a one pot wonder so to speak, in that you bung it all in the bowl, mix it, bake it, ice it and it tastes great. This gives it a serious run for its money and in fact, I’ve probably made this one more often as it is deeply chocolately but not overly rich.

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake

  • 200g plain flour
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb
  • 40g cocoa
  • 175g butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 150ml sour cream
  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line (or flour) two 20cm round cake tins
  2. Bung the ingredients all together in the mixing bowl or food processor and process until combined
  3. Spatula into the tins and spread out – the mix is very thick
  4. Bake for 25-35 minutes then turn out and cool.

The icing

  • 75g butter
  • 175g best quality dark chocolate
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 1 tbl golden syrup
  • 125ml sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Melt the butter and chocolate together, cool slightly
  2. Add the golden syrup, then the sour cream and vanilla
  3. Mix into the icing sugar, beat until combined and no lumps
  4. Use 1/3 to sandwich cakes together, 1/3 for the top and 1/3 for the sides

Ode to Nigella 18 – Totally Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Nigella attributes these to Elinor Klivans and her book Big Fat Cookies, so technically this might not be a Nigella recipe, but you know, she has it in her latest cookbook Nigella Express so I’m taking it as legit.

These are not so much biscuits as saucers. It makes 12 chocolate plates or 24 biscuits.

Totally Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 125g chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa
  • 150g flour
  • 30g cocoa
  • 1tsp bicarb
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 125g butter
  • 75g light brown sugar
  • 50g sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, cold from the fridge
  • 350g semi-sweet chocolate morsels or dark chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 170C
  2. Melt the chocolate in a double saucepan on the stovetop or in the microwave
  3. Mix the flour, cocoa, bicarb and salt together
  4. Cream the butter and sugar together
  5. Fold in the chocolate and then add the egg and vanilla
  6. Mix through the dry ingredients and then the choc chips
  7. Using an icecream scoopp, scoop out 12 equal-sized mounds on a lined baking sheet about 6cm apart. Do not flatten them
  8. Cook for 18 minutes and let cool for 4-5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

I used white chocolate chips as I didn’t have dark chocolate ones.