A Date with Nigella Lawson and Annabel Crabb

I've just arrived home from an incredible few days in Sydney where I had a date with Nigella Lawson and Annabel Crabb.  Although my trip didn't have anything to do with my role as a market manager, my segway to this post is that a market is not complete without food and food and Nigella, and increasingly food and Annabel, are inseparable.

Nigella Lawson and Annabel Crabb are my two "girl-crushes" and seeing both of them on the one stage together was a dream come true!

I bought two tickets hoping to find a friend to come with me, but I would have gone by myself if necessary.  Fortunately my beautiful friend Tina met me in Sydney and we enjoyed an amazing few days of shopping, pampering and entertainment.  Our gorgeous old-world hotel was a short walk from the Sydney Opera House, we had our make-up done at the Bobbie Brown cosmetics counter at David Jones, had a manicure and enjoyed a fine dining experience at Peter Gilmore's Bennelong Restaurant at the Opera House.

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Our hotel was very old-world and in a perfect location: a short walk to the Opera House in one direction and in the other direction, Sydney's bustling shopping precinct. 

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Dinner at the Bennelong Restaurant was a gourmet experience I will remember forever.  Entree was a Roasted Carrot Salad with almonds, sheep's milk feta and amaranth.  This tasted even better than it looks!

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And then came the main course:  Maclay Valley Suckling Pig with carrots, pickled onions and black and white garlic.  A truly memorable taste sensation .....

I can't remember when Nigella first came into my life, but I have most of her cookbooks and her Plum and Pecan Crumble recipe on page 128 of How to be a Domestic Goddess is my go-to dessert during the cooler months.  Served with home made custard, hmmmm ...  one bowl is just not enough.

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My collection of Nigella's cookbooks.

If you don't know Annabel, she is an Australian political journalist who has turned her hand to food writing and has recently published her own cookbook.

My 'date' was actually a Conversation between Nigella and Annabel at the Sydney Opera House and I had to share my date with thousands of other adoring fans in the Concert Hall.  Throughout the conversation we learned that:

  • despite common belief, Nigella doesn't loll about all day eating chocolate,
  • she loves gorgeous expensive bed linen but ruins her sheets by eating in bed,
  • she keeps a collection of condiments on her bedside table as unsalted food is worse than crumbs in the bedsheets,
  • she was advised not to write How to be a Domestic Goddess as "no-one would buy a baking cookbook" (how wrong were they!), and
  • she likes to spread her scones as they do in Devon - cream first, jam on top
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The Sydney Opera House on a beautiful summer's day.

I'm not sure I should admit that after the show we joined the queue that snaked up the side and around the back of the Concert Hall to have our new Nigella cookbooks signed by the author herself.   An hour and a half later, with tired sore feet, we were rewarded with her signature, a smile and a short conversation when we eventually reached the front of the queue.

Ahhhh ....  happy girls .....

A truly memorable few days .... and did I mention the new shoes from David Jones and the few hours I happily whiled away at my favourite bookshop in George Street?

Now I'd best get back to work and start planning our very busy 2016.

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And the last word goes to Nigella and Annabel - thank you for a memorable evening.