My friend Derrick and I once spent a summer worshipping Nigella Lawson. In between early morning shifts at the Starbucks (for him) and late night shifts at the local hookah bar (for me), we would lay in my sun filled bedroom, feet on the pillows of my bed, watching YouTube video after YouTube video of the great Nigella.
This was my first summer in Kent, Ohio. With two of my best friends just down the hall, an old house that creaked in the most endearing of ways, and a cat named Gus, there was no where else I would have rather been. We took a summer course here or there, worked easy jobs, and enjoyed the splendor that is a college town in the summer time.
At an age where most of our friends were jumping on the vegan bandwagon, Nigella’s love affair with bacon and good cream was refreshing. Derrick and I were entertained to no end by her unabashed sex appeal that still remained down to earth, and at times almost goofy. One episode in which she gets home late from a party, pulls off her gorgeously large earrings, and then cooks up a bacon and tomato hash embodies everything there was to love about her that summer. She was bold, she was fun, and she loved to eat without guilt.
Best of all, her food was something we actually felt like we could cook. I had spent my first year living on my own, without a college dining halls, doing something that maybe came close to cooking. A Real Simple recipe here or there, maybe, but grilled cheese and a chickpea salad was as advanced as I had gone. Nigella inspired me to think differently about food. She taught me to love the act of preparing it as much as the act of eating it.
That summer we cooked a lot of recipes. Playing and pausing the videos to write down ingredients and follow her instructions. She taught me that egg can make a pasta sauce. Her curry in a hurry would become a standby dish for me, and was the first meal I cooked for a dinner party. But there was no recipe we made more that summer than her ChocoPots.
We would make ours in coffee mugs, and favored them as a late night snack. It would not have been unusual for Derrick to greet me at the door with one of these individually sized chocolate concoctions. You can use mugs or ramekins, but they are best enjoyed alone curled up on the couch or eaten standing in the kitchen talking to close friends.
I like to swirl in some melted peanut butter and top with sea salt to give it a nice savory kick. The recipe starts at about 50 seconds, but I recommend watching the whole thing, maybe while lazing on your bed on a sunny afternoon.