Nigella Lawson reveals she never follows recipes to the letter due to 'performance anxiety'

Nigella Lawson recommends people use their "instinct" while cooking (Getty Images)
Nigella Lawson recommends people use their "instinct" while cooking (Getty Images)

Last month, Nigella Lawson admitted that the unease of lockdown had spurred her on to eat a 250g bar of chocolate every evening.

Now, the revered food writer, 60, has revealed that she is back enjoying cooking once more - after a ten-day hiatus once social distancing measures came into force.

However, while many people have been dusting off their old recipe books, the former cooking show host has noted that she often goes without the guidance.

Writing in The Sunday Times’ Style, the mum-of-three explained: “I’ve always believed that the best way to learn how to cook is to cook for yourself, simply because when it’s only you you’re feeding, you can concentrate more on the process than on the result, shackled as it is so often with the dreadful weight of performance anxiety.

Read more: Nigella Lawson just won the 'when I was 20' lockdown challenge

“A recipe can be a helpful guide when you cook, but it can never replace instinct. The truth is, though, there’s only one way to gain that instinct: you learn to cook by cooking.”

Nigella - who has written a string of best-selling recipe books - continued: “You learn so much from having to make do, rather than by cheerfully ticking off a checklist of ingredients.”

The star also revealed that she often substitutes one ingredient for another while cooking - something all the more important during the pandemic when certain items, like flour and eggs, have been in short supply.

She explained that for a one-pan oven-roasted dish of chicken thighs with new potatoes and chorizo, you can swap out chorizo for peeled whole garlic cloves and some paprika.

Read more: Nigella Lawson reveals she'll keep colouring her grey hairs brunette as she turns 60

Nigella advised: “or those of you battling with recipes you don’t have all the ingredients for, just concentrate on the tastes — or often textures — the missing ingredients bring to any dish.

“Nothing is right or wrong: it’s about finding your own way through it.”

It comes after the star decided to throw her hat into the ‘when I was 20’ challenge, a trend which sees people digging through their photo albums to share a throwback photo of them aged 20.

By her own admission, the culinary queen was not 20, but 23 when the black and white image was taken - but there’s no denying it is one hell of a sultry snap.

Her 2.6 million Twitter followers were huge fans of the picture, with one writing: “Too good, should be illegal.”

Another commented: “GAME OVER. (Seriously though, that picture has brightened my day xx).”

A third shared: “I think the earth just shook from that mic drop.”