CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night’s TV: Trekkie Nigella cooks up a feast for Klingons 


Nigella’s Eat, Cook, Repeat

Rating:

My Family, The Holocaust & Me With Robert Rinder

Rating:

Nigella’s cooking in lockdown, which means she can’t invite her usual ‘family and friends’ to laugh and pose around her dining table like catalogue models.

But is she subdued? Not a bit of it. ‘I’m a complete condiment queen,’ she purrs, flaring her eyelashes flirtatiously as she sprinkles Chinese crispy chilli over her noodles. 

‘This is bowl food at its best and I’m ready for . . .’ She licks her lips . . . ‘Total immersion.’

Nigella's cooking in lockdown, which means she can't invite her usual 'family and friends' to laugh and pose around her dining table like catalogue models (pictured)

Nigella’s cooking in lockdown, which means she can’t invite her usual ‘family and friends’ to laugh and pose around her dining table like catalogue models (pictured)

A mellow funk instrumental throbs on the soundtrack and the lighting blurs. This is food as 1970s soft porn. 

La Lawson might appear to be alone on Nigella’s Cook, Eat, Repeat (BBC2) but don’t forget her cameraman. 

Perhaps he is a moustachioed hunk with his shirt open and gold medallions glistening in his chest rug.

I don’t remember Joan Collins chopping veg in saucy movies such as The Stud, but if she did I’m certain she would have used a knife like Nigella’s, with its blade mottled in a leopardskin pattern.

As her cookery show returned, bringing recipes for people who live every day in five-star luxury, she was curled in a leather armchair, a laden drinks trolley at her elbow.

Her kitchen twinkled with fairy lights, and her walk-in larder glowed with rosy bulbs on every shelf. 

Other TV chefs measure out their ingredients with spoons — Nigella has tiny, burnished copper saucepans. 

La Lawson might appear to be alone on Nigella's Cook, Eat, Repeat (BBC2) but don't forget her cameraman (pictured)

La Lawson might appear to be alone on Nigella’s Cook, Eat, Repeat (BBC2) but don’t forget her cameraman (pictured)

All this loveliness brings her bursting out in poetry. ‘The gold fire of English mustard,’ she murmured, ‘it seems to dance on the edge of bitterness.’

Other ingredients are less lyrical. Her first recipe, one she found on Twitter, was for a Indian dish called bhurta, which was basically mashed supermarket fishfingers in fried onion. 

And it’s no good getting the expensive ones with real fish, she warned — the processed breadcrumbs are the tasty bit.

This, she assured us, was comfort eating at its loveliest: ‘Food to brighten up even the darkest day.’ But where was the ketchup? Fishfingers are inedible without gloops of tomato sauce.

Then she soaked banana skins in boiling water before slicing them into spaghetti strands and cooking them in curry sauce. 

‘I feel,’ she promised, ‘like I’m eating gharhk, which is a Klingon delicacy.’

Who could have guessed that Nigella is a devoted Trekkie, such a fan of Star Trek that she knows its alien languages? 

If she signs up as chef aboard the Starship Enterprise, Captain James T. Kirk will be besotted from the moment he sees her.

But what will Mr Spock make of boiled banana skins and mashed fishfingers? ‘It’s not logical, Captain.’ 

Robert Rinder began his search for the past in the kitchen of his friends Natalie and Louisa Clein — one a musician, the other an Emmerdale actress. 

Robert Rinder began his search for the past in My Family, The Holocaust & Me on BBC1 (pictured)

Robert Rinder began his search for the past in My Family, The Holocaust & Me on BBC1 (pictured)

There was no cooking, though: all three had their photo albums out, hoping to learn more about the wartime fate of their grandparents’ generation, in My Family, The Holocaust & Me (BBC1).

The sisters travelled to Amsterdam, where they discovered, in the style of Who Do You Think You Are?, that their great aunt, a dancer, had fought with unimaginable bravery for the Resistance. 

Robert traced his roots to Lithuania, and a mass grave dug by hundreds of Jewish villagers before they were machine-guned by the SS.

Robert was devastated. He had to walk away from the camera, gasping: ‘Sorry, sorry.’

But the hour was not unremittingly bleak. Before beginning his pilgrimage, he visited his 91-year-old grandfather, Harry.

‘I really don’t know what you’ll find,’ said the old man. ‘Maybe I’m Russian royalty.’ If only that had been the outcome.

He was hoping to learn more about the wartime fate of their grandparents' generation (pictured Rob Rinder with his mother Angela Cohen)

He was hoping to learn more about the wartime fate of their grandparents’ generation (pictured Rob Rinder with his mother Angela Cohen)

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