Belfast Telegraph

Domestic goddess Nigella leaves fans hungry for more as hundreds gather for book signing in Belfast

By Claire McNeilly

There's a nod to Northern Ireland's love of Guinness in Nigella Lawson's new best-selling cookery book.

The culinary goodness was in Belfast yesterday to sign copies for expectant fans.

A queue started forming two-and-a-half hours before the event at Easons in Donegall Place, with hundreds of people hoping to catch a glimpse of the star.

Smiling broadly, and dressed from head to toe in black, the mother-of-two looked every inch the glamorous broadcaster when she arrived at 12.30pm.

The 55-year-old celebrity chef appeared relaxed and happy to write personal messages inside copies of Simply Nigella: Feel Good Food, priced at £14.99, which is currently sitting in second place in the list of best-selling Christmas cookery books.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Nigella said one particular recipe in her new book - slow-cooked beef and Guinness stew with prunes and black treacle - was in tribute to local fans, many of whom were flicking through her book while waiting to meet the author.

"It's wonderful to be in Belfast again, signing my new book and meeting fellow food lovers," Nigella added. "My Guinness stew recipe in Simply Nigella is certainly inspired by Ireland.

"Today, I've been lucky enough to try some delicious local produce - so far, a very successful trip!"

The book's mouth-watering dishes, including salmon, avocado, watercress and pumpkin seed salad; sweet potato, ginger and orange soup, and date and marmalade Christmas cake, proved so tempting that many people were snapping up three copies at a time.

Others who had previously purchased the book returned to the store to have their copy signed by the cookery guru.

Civil servant Jonny Browne (31), from Newtownards, had bought three books - for his wife, mother and mother-in-law.

"They are all big Nigella fans, so I wasn't going to risk not getting them all signed," the father-of-three said.

Mother-of-four Rosa Perks (55), a finance officer from Carryduff, purchased a book as an engagement present.

"I've already got my copy, but I wanted to meet her in person," she said. "I absolutely love her recipes. They're so easy to make. The kids' favourite at the minute is beef short ribs."

Belfast nurse Laura Maxwell was given the new book as a present weeks ago but wanted to get it signed.

"Her recipes are simple but gorgeous," said the 27-year-old birthday girl. "My favourite is the Madeira cake."

Laura's boyfriend, 36-year-old Gareth Croan, who works in sales, was hoping to get a signature on a copy of another of Nigella's books, How to be a Domestic Goddess.

"I came along to meet her and to get as many books signed as possible," he said.

Geraldine Mulhern (50), who works for the Northern Trust, snapped up a book for her niece.

"Nigella is full of wonderful ideas for food and I thought this would make a lovely Christmas present," she said.

Queen's University mature student Barry McDonagh was devouring the recipes as he queued.

"I'm getting this signed for a friend who's in Canada at the minute," said the 34-year-old.

"She's such a big fan, she would kill me if she heard Nigella was in Belfast and I hadn't gone to meet her.

"The new book looks brilliant and I really can't wait to try the warm spiced cucumber and chickpea salad."

Council worker Sara Thompson (34), from Belfast, was in Easons with her cute seven-month-old son Theo.

"I love her totally chocolate chocolate chip cookies and her devil's fruit cake," she said.

Suzanne Doherty, a 25-year-old manager from Belfast, bought the book several weeks ago, but she went to Easons because wanted to meet the author in person.

"I'm a huge Nigella fan," she said. "My all-time favourite is her Oreo cookie and cream cheesecake."

Also treating himself to a copy was Belfast solicitor Graeme Moore (40).

"It's all about indulgence, and I find her recipes inspiring," he said.

Belfast Telegraph


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