As she licks her fingers and adds a few more dollops of butter to the pan, viewers intrinsically know that it’s never just about food with Nigella Lawson.
Indeed, making magic in the kitchen is dependent on a number of things -- chiefly, the cook but also her surroundings -- and for Lawson, there are a few crucial elements needed for the perfect working space.
Some of which she agreed to share with The Huffington Post Australia’s editor-at-large Lisa Wilkinson during a visit to her Sydney home where they cooked Thai noodles with cinnamon and prawns -- a recipe from Nigella's latest book, Simply Nigella: Feel Good Food.
“I feel that beauty is a very important element in making for a happy life,” Lawson told Wilkinson as she explains her need to organise her collection of mugs in a drawer rather than a cupboard -- and most certainly not a mug tree!
“Every time I’m making myself a cup of tea I open my mug drawer and I think ‘that is so beautiful’ -- and I feel very happy. But it’s also about form and function which is at the heart of good design -- and it’s pleasing -- pleasing in ways you don’t always take into account consciously,” Lawson said.
Natural light -- lots of it is another element Lawson does not compromise with. She explains she’s knocked down walls in the past in order to get light in.
“For me the greatest feature of any kitchen -- which is a bit of a luxury because it can’t always be found -- is light. If you have natural light it makes it into a more uplifting place,” Lawson said.
It’s no surprise that functionality and beauty are key to a good working space for Lawson, but there are also a few things she simply does not care for -- and made sure to steer clear of when designing her own kitchen.
“I don’t like having lots of cupboards above the surface. I like open shelves especially if it’s a small space -- almost like a bookshelf feel,” Lawson said.
She confesses she’s a bit of a clutterer too, which is why she likes to have space on both sides of the hob. A rubbish bin underneath the chopping board is also non-negotiable.
The only thing missing for Lawson?
“A pig in the garden so everything I chop can go into a bin that I can take out to the pig,” Lawson said.
Simply Nigella: Feel Good Food is out now.
This is the second course in a six-week HuffPost Australia degustation feast of Nigella in Lisa's kitchen.