IN her native England, Nigella Lawson is something of a dining deity. Her second cookbook, “How To Be a Domestic Goddess,” was largely credited with kick-starting the country’s renewed love affair with baking, leading Lawson to a fruitful career as a TV chef with a passionate relationship to her ingredients, and a penchant for alliteration (“pink picante prawns,” anyone?). Her 11th book, “At My Table: A Celebration of Home Cooking” (Flatiron Books), came out this week. In honor of the occasion, we invited her to identify the tools and treats she can’t live without.
“For sure, this is not the most refined of ingredients. It is no doubt looked down on by food snobs and purists. But I always have to have a can of it in the cupboard — mixed with heavy cream and whisked, it makes the basis of staggeringly easy, no-churn ice creams. The best shortcut to making dessert with instant wow factor.”
MIX ’N’ MASH
“Humor me here. I know it sounds odd to have a machine just for mashing potatoes, but this really does make the best mashed potatoes ever, and my family favors mash over all. It’s not a beautiful implement, but function sometimes trumps form — it mashes and aerates at the same time.” “Dash Masha 2X” masher, $50 at ByDash.com
“These are also known as pul biber or Turkish red-pepper flakes. They have a mellow heat and distinct lemony-ness that I turn to when cooking fish, meat, pasta and one of the favorite recipes in my new book, Turkish eggs.”
“I’ve been cooking with these Finnish saucepans and oven trays for years and they are as sturdy as they are beautiful. They manage to combine a ’70s chunkiness with sleek elegance — they are a cook’s dream: They conduct heat excellently and wash up easily.” Iittala Tools stainless-steel saucepan, $295 at BedBathAndBeyond.com
“Cumin’s citrusy, peppery earthiness enhances everything it’s added to. I stir-fry cabbage with it; add it to stews; mix it in with other spices to make curry pastes; in my new book, I even use it to flavor a pound cake.”
“I have a particular fondness for Le Creuset enameled cast-iron cookware. It’s certainly heavy, and I keep mine on open shelves at easily reachable level. It not only conducts heat so well, it also seems to get more flavor out of the food. I slow-cook a lot in mine and however burnt they look inside, a bit of a soak in the sink and they clean easily. I somehow feel that the original ‘Volcanique’ orange can’t be improved on — I consider it a bold neutral.” 5-piece signature cookware set in “Flame,” $525 at LeCreuset.com
“I regard ginger to be as essential as garlic in my cooking: Its freshness and fieriness give oomph to anything it’s added to, sweet or savory.”
“I love the feel of a Füri knife in my hand: it’s comfortable and secure and has just enough heft, but is still light and easy to wield. They are also very beautiful to look at — I keep my collection on magnetic strips out on the wall.” Füri “Pro East/West Santoku” knife, $100 at Amazon.com
“This cocktail shaker is so beautiful I don’t keep it in the cupboard, but out on gleaming display on my bookshelf, just under some Dickens. It’s small and handy and good to whip up a sudden urgent martini — the top doubles as a measure — and the copper insulates wonderfully, so your second drink will be as deliciously cold as well.” New York Mutual Trading Japanese copper cocktail shaker, $130 at Food52.com
“I picked up my first Mud pieces on my first trip to Melbourne about 14 years ago and have been adding to my collection ever since. Everything is made by hand in their Sydney studio, and the pared-back aesthetic is combined with a jubilant sense of color. It all goes in the oven and dishwasher as well. I have a particular love for their ‘Pebble’ bowls.” “Pebble” bowl, $153 at US.MudAustralia.com
“It’s about the food I’ve cooked and the people I’ve cooked for. It’s not just a manual, but a collection of stories and a container for my memories.” “At My Table” by Nigella Lawson, $23 at Amazon.com
“I always have some of this in my fridge and really have to stop myself [from] adding it to nearly everything I cook: It combines a caramelly richness and salty depth and brings instant umami.”
Photos by by David Ellis. Getty Images (2). Alamy (2). Rex. Courtesy of the Designers.