In the US, we've got the hostess, chef, and lifestyle guru Martha Stewart, who built a huge business before falling from grace and then rebuilding again afterward. She's arguably doing better than ever these days and continues to appear on television and manage her holdings while dispensing entertaining advice and cooking tips. The UK’s Nigella Lawson, although younger than Martha Stewart, is often compared with her because they're both the authors of multiple cookbooks and appeared on several shows that focused on their approach to cooking and entertaining.
While Martha Stewart considers herself a chef, Nigella shies away from the title and explains that she just enjoys sharing her love of food and cooking with everyone. but makes no bones about her lack of formal training. She, too, underwent a period of public scrutiny but continues to have a dedicated following who love her sisterly tone and matter-of-fact approach to the pleasure of indulgence and comfort food with family and friends. Both Martha and Nigella are similar in that they've changed the way that many of us think about cooking—who can do it and how we relate to each other through it. Their approaches and tastes, however, are vastly different sometimes. Read on to find out some of their most reliable and talked-about dishes that Nigella and Martha swear by.
24 Nigella's Rose And Pepper Pavlova
There's nothing bad about a light and delicate meringue dessert, and Nigella is known for her enthusiasm for the seemingly complicated pavlova. Nigella's take on this airy and fluffy treat is to marinate strawberries in passionfruit juice and to add a grinding of black pepper to the pavlova base along with the rosewater, according to Nuvo. The black pepper, at first, seems like an odd touch, but Nigella feels that the black pepper elevates the strawberries and, along with the rosewater, adds what she describes as a “huskiness.”
23 Martha's Sweet Morning Buns
Getting up in the morning to bake from scratch might not sound like a winning plan, but Martha's Sweet Morning Buns can be formed up and frozen for quick retrieval. One batch will make 20 buns, and once the buttery yeast dough is made—from scratch because it's Martha Stewast—a mere eight ingredients total will result in a Morning Bun worth waking up to, as per Martha Stewart. Finely grated orange zest perks up the buns and contrasts so wonderfully with the sugar-cinnamon combination. The best part about the buns is that if they're already assembled, they bake up in a speedy 13 minutes.
22 Nigella's Coca-Cola Braised And Glazed Ham
Although she does insist on calling uncooked ham gammon—it sounds weird to us in the US—she's correct that once this recipe is made for the family, it'll go into the regular rotation. Nigella's southern-inspired recipe for Coca-Cola Braised and Glazed Ham is far simpler than it tastes, according to Nigella. In typical Nigella fashion, she urges us to try this and not be scared—a short list of ingredients and two liters of Coca-Cola (never Diet!) will give cooks of any level a holiday-worthy ham with only a weekday amount of effort.
21 Martha's Macaroni And Cheese
Martha never just gives us a recipe without first serving us up some knowledge. For instance, she reveals that Thomas Jefferson was known for serving the dish at his dinner parties, although it's doubtful he crafted his along the lines of her recipe. With ingredients like nutmeg and a blend of cheddar, Gruyere and Pecorino Romano, Martha Stewart's take on the classic has been a proven winner with her fans for decades, as per Martha Stewart. For Martha, the key to a decadent dish is a well-made white sauce base.
20 Nigella's Sweet Potato Macaroni Cheese
There are no handfuls of shredded cheddar in Nigella's take on mac and cheese, just a ton of sweet potatoes and some feta cheese. Yet, like many other of her recipes, what sounds at first like utter nonsense is actually pretty delicious. A simple but important white sauce is key to Nigella's macaroni dish just as it was to Martha's, but Nigella has long harbored an obsession for English mustard and includes it here in this recipe as well, as per Epicurious. Four sage leaves add an aromatic element to this less gooey iteration of a classic.
19 Martha's Big Batch Vegetable Soup
A good and hearty vegetable soup is a comfort food that satisfies best on rainy or cold days, and the best part about this Martha Stewart favorite is that one recipe cooks up a huge batch, so it's a great winter potluck option. Because the vegetable combination is customizable, the soup can accommodate anyone's tastes and can be tailored to whatever ingredients are on hand. The flavor comes from simple seasonings and good stock, according to One Country. Extra soup—if there's any—freezes beautifully and serves up nicely with warm, crusty bread.
18 Nigella's Chicken And Pea Traybake
Traybakes used to only be the domain of sweets, but Nigella has won a lot of fans with her Chicken Traybake that's so unbelievably easy that even lazy people can love it. Green peas, sliced leeks, and dill sprigs are swirled with a few choice wet ingredients and dumped on a tray to commingle with chicken thighs in one single glorious dish, as per MSN. Nigella explains that we shouldn't be put off by mushy peas because the peas in this dish get so much flavor and sweetness from simmering in the juices while the chicken skin crisps.
17 Martha's Baked Vegetable Omelette
We were sold at sour cream, Martha. Baked Vegetable Omelette is a humble name for a rich and filling breakfast food that'll satisfy even the most demanding morning hunger. The aforementioned sour cream and Havarti cheese cavort with potatoes and plum tomatoes for a hearty morning meal, and the mixture is elevated with fresh thyme and basil, according to People. While many of Martha Stewart's recipes include quite a bit of preparation or attention to detail, this is one recipe that her fans love precisely because it's absurdly easy yet produces shareworthy results.
16 Nigella's Corsican Omelette
The cheese that Nigella recommends for her Corsican Omelette—brocciu—may be difficult to find. Brocciu is a Corsican goat's whey cheese, but fortunately, Nigella explains that chèvre will do nicely as a stand-in. Fresh mint is the surprising addition to this extremely simple yet rich egg dish, as per the Guardian. Lawson likes her omelette folded lengthwise in three parts and even explains that when she doesn't feel like adding the mint, she doesn't. It doesn't seem to pair up with eggs at first but really ends up drawing attention to the creamy saltiness of the cheese.
15 Martha's Easy Roasted Chicken Thighs
Easy Roasted Chicken Thighs is a busy parent's dream-come-true recipe because it takes an inexpensive meat and turns it into a rave-worthy dinner that's good enough for a dinner party. The lemony sauce makes itself in the pan while the chicken cooks and a side of Easy Roasted Potatoes is a perfect companion piece, as per Martha Stewart. Easy Roasted Chicken Thighs live up to their name and are simple enough for even a beginner to master but don't come off as bland or unexciting. Sometimes, simple really is best.
14 Nigella's Slow-Roasted Chicken With Lemon And Garlic
Of course, Nigella has an easy chicken recipe, which she calls "Slow-Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Garlic." While it's still an easy recipe, it has a few more steps than Martha's version, so time-strapped families might have the few extra minutes they need for this one on the weekend versus a weekday, as per Nigella. Nigella also really does mean slow-roasted: the chicken cooks on very low heat for two hours, and all the garlic and lemon and everything mellows together in a delicious muddle. The chunks of lemon give this roast chicken some summer flair.
13 Martha's Mini Beef Wellington
Martha knows how to give us meals that make it look like we worked really hard when, in fact, we just prepped ahead of time. Perfect for the holiday get-together, these Mini Beef Wellingtons can be stored in the freezer—then, unexpected guests are no problem. Seared tenderloins are topped with store-bought paté and then wrapped up in puff pastry—and then resigned to wait for their time to shine in the freezer, as per Martha Stewart. The key to an unflustered get-together or elegant dinner is being prepared ahead of time by pre-assembling.
12 Nigella's Pappardelle With Butternut And Blue Cheese
Sometimes, Nigella gives us a meal that reminds us how good food can be worth slowing down for. Cutting up a fresh butternut squash for this meal really kicks things up when combined with a good blue cheese, as per Denver Post. Nigella Lawson's cooking directions are always fearless and a bit slapdash, and even with a multi-step meal like this, her approach is intentionally casual. She explains what we're doing and why, but throughout this Pappardelle with Butternut and Blue Cheese, we're also reminded that it's OK—we won't mess it up.
11 Martha's Pistachio Spritz Pinwheels
Martha Stewart's wheelhouse is full of cookies. While some people are put off by her labor-intensive approach to these handheld desserts, the finished product only tastes and looks divine. The distinct green color fits a holiday cookie scheme perfectly, and the only problem with the Pistachio Spritz Pinwheels might be trying to stop eating them before other people get a chance. Real, crushed pistachios with almond extract make these cookies delicate and with a warm and cozy scent, as per Styled to Sparkle. If we can stop ourselves from eating them all, they'd be perfect for a cookie exchange.
10 Nigella's Cheddar Cheese Risotto
We appreciate that Nigella Lawson wants us to indulge ourselves during the winter with comfort foods—it feels like she really gets us. We also want easy, however, and sometimes, easy food and comfort food intersect in a glorious moment. Nigella herself feels like her Cheddar Cheese Risotto is a confluence of indulgences—it's full of cheddar, it's creamy and rich, and there's no cutting with a fork or knife, according to NPR. Lawson explains that she does love this comfort food, but she doesn't approve of feeling guilt—indulgences are meant to be enjoyed.
9 Nigella's Chicken Cosima
Chicken Cosima is such a hearty recipe that even Nigella likes to prepare it for her family. What makes this meal so perfect for her and many of her fans is that it can be scaled up or down according to need, meaning that Chicken Cosima can be made as a filling family meal or a huge vat for parties or potluck. A swirl of fragrant spices blends with hearty chickpeas and sweet potato yet doesn't clash with the chicken, according to Daily Mail. Everything cooks together, and the whole effect is stew-like and deeply satisfying when eaten with a crust of bread.
8 Martha's Salmon With Crispy Cabbage And Kale
Nigella's not the only one who can put a whole meal on a pan. Martha Stewart does the traybake US-style and even greens it up with lacinato kale and savoy cabbage, as per Popsugar. Not only is this all done in a single pan, but Martha helps us achieve this meal in mere minutes—the entire thing is done in under half an hour. This stunner of a go-to meal looks so classy and is really healthy—probably a necessity after eating Morning Buns and snacking on far too many Pistachio Spritz Pinwheels.
7 Martha's Herb And Cheese Rolls
Martha makes us do things from scratch sometimes—especially when it comes to baking—but she makes up for it by providing a “base” that's useful for a variety of projects. Her Herb and Cheese Rolls use the same buttery yeast dough that's called for in her Morning Buns recipe and head in a decidedly savory direction, as per Styled to Sparkle. Parmesan and lemon zest really jazz up when chopped fresh herbs are added, and the result is a dinner roll that the family will fight over. The best part is that these can be made ahead.
6 Nigella's Sour-Cream Chocolate Cake
Sometimes, we want a chocolate cake that isn't light and fluffy but is dark and dense in the richest way possible. Adding sour cream to the batter of this old-fashioned style cake gives it an added depth and moisture. Nigella Lawson lists sugar flowers as an optional garnish, but in true Nigella fashion, she explains that any garnish is good—the key is to focus on high-quality chocolate for the frosting, according to New York Times Cooking. There's plenty of time while the cake is baking to put together the homemade frosting, and it's so worth it!
5 Martha's Slow Cooker Pot Roast
Not only does Martha swear by this Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe, but thousands of home cooks rely on it, too, for an easy main course. There are no fancy or hard-to-find ingredients, and whoever assembles it can carry on with other activities for hours and still be a hero at dinner time. A can of Campbell's soup jazzes up the natural goodness of a roast, simple seasonings, and veggies, as per One Country. After eight hours in the slow cooker, the roast meat practically falls apart and means very little kitchen activity for those families pressed for time.
4 Nigella's Cornbread-Topped Chili Con Carne
Chile con carne is amazing on its own, but the lazy cook's dream is to combine multiple dishes in one, and throwing a healthy cornbread crust on top of the chili solves every dinner problem in just one pot. While Nigella does encourage us to make the cornbread from scratch, it all ends up eventually in the same large oven-proof pan, according to Food Network. As if the fragrant chili con carne with warm seasoned cornbread wasn't comforting enough, two different sour cream toppings and handmade guacamole put the finishing touches on one of Nigella's best winter rib-stickers.
3 Martha's Hot Crab Dip
The most important misconception that some folks may have about Martha's Hot Crab Dip recipe is that it's old-fashioned, but that couldn't be further from the truth. A number of Martha Stewart fans have thrown this dip together for their family or for a party and found themselves carting home an empty dish—there are never any leftovers. Lump crabmeat is the star in a medley of totally-not-diet-food ingredients that make this the perfect indulgence, as per The Wednesday Chef. While there's a long list of ingredients, once everything's assembled, the dip comes together quickly.
2 Nigella's Chicken With Chorizo And Potatoes
Although Nigella can get as complicated as anyone with her recipes, she's the first to admit that some days are just too hectic to get super involved. Her answer is the traybake, and she's not ashamed about dumping a collection of ingredients into a deep pan and roasting them all. The Chicken with Chorizo and Potatoes is an interesting take because many people wouldn't consider roasting the chicken and chorizo together. Grated orange zest is an out-of-this-world touch that takes little effort but adds a lot to the finished product, according to Nigella.
1 Martha's Salt-Roasted Potatoes, Shallots, And Chestnuts
Sure, fingerling potatoes can be roasted in a much shorter period of time, but slow-roasting them in salt and infused with rosemary ups the elegance of the side dish. Using coarse salt and dusting off excess salt after is key. Shallots and chestnuts also elevate the lowly potato and make this dish a worthy accompaniment to any main dish, as per Martha Stewart. Salt-roasting, shallots, and chestnuts might all be unfamiliar things for some cooks, but Martha's good at sneaking in a few things here and there outside our comfort zones to show us that nuance can be delicious.