Early episodes of Simply Nigella that have screened in Britain are being derided by disenchanted fans for being too simplistic.
The furore began when she served up little more than avocado on toast.
“What’s on the next episode, butter on toast?” tweets one viewer.
Nigella, 55, drew ire again when she offered up her fresh take on the all-time favourite, the simple Caesar salad – roasted lettuce, parmesan cheese, anchovies and a fried egg with a slice of toast.
Nigella is then seen tucking into her meal – while viewers turned to Twitter to say they couldn’t believe what they were watching.
“Fried egg over burnt lettuce with fish bits and toast. Home economic lessons were wasted on Nigella,” fires back one disgruntled viewer.
Another outraged tweeter posted: ‘As if Nigella is roasting some lettuce, putting a fried egg on top and can have the audacity to call it “delicious”.’
Another wrote: “Nigella has burnt her lettuce. I didn’t even know that was possible.”
Many questioned her sanity over the recipe, one posted: “Who in their right mind bakes lettuce, I think she’s lost it!”
But Nigella tells Sunday Style magazine that cooking doesn’t have to be complicated.
“So many people think it means restaurant cooking, but it doesn’t. It means throwing a few things together, putting it in the oven or stirring something in a pan,” says Nigella.
“I’m not referring to something that has a split-second timing and requires enormous concentration and dexterity.”
Nigella says she set out to make the series, and the book by the same name, to reflect a new chapter in her life.
“I stumbled on the crux of the book when I was making my apricot almond cake with rosewater and cardamom,” says recently divorced Nigella.
“I was thinking how ushering forth this cake induced in me a feeling of cosiness and serenity, and I felt I’d got to the stage in my life that what I was creating in my new home and my new kitchen…it’s about feeling an enormous sense of light.
“The food is uplifting and the comfort you get from it makes me feel restored and full of vitality.”
She says her new book is also partly influenced by Australian cuisine.
Nigella, who is visiting Australia in the New Year to promote her book and to film a local series of MasterChef, is a big fan of our food and landscapes.
“The cooking has such a wonderful mix of old civilisation, but also a feeling of freshness.”
- Simply Nigella is on Foxtel’s LifeStyle FOOD, from December 2. Simply Nigella: Feel Good Food (Random House, $59.99) is on sale now.