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)

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.

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Nigella Lawson: From Domestic Goddess to national treasure
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Nigella Lawson: From Domestic Goddess to national treasure
LONDON - JUNE 1: Chef Nigella Lawson poses for a portrait on June 1, 2005 in London. (Photo by Francesca Yorke/Getty Images)
Writer & TV presenter Nigella Lawson, named author of the year at the British Book Awards 2000, which took place at the London Hilton.
Writer & TV presenter Nigella Lawson, named author of the year at the British Book Awards 2000, which took place at the London Hilton. After collecting her award Lawson said it was a great honour and she felt tremendously proud to have been named author of the year. * But she said her book 'How to be Domestic Goddess' was not necessarily about telling people how to achieve perfection but rather helping them feel as if they had.
TV chefs Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver at the London Hilton for the British Book Awards 2000.
Writer & TV presenter Nigella Lawson, arriving at the London Hilton for the British Book Awards 2000. Food writer Nigella Lawson is in contention for the title of top writer.
Writer and TV chef Nigella Lawson at the London Hilton for the British Book Awards 2000. * 3/1/02: Naked Chef Jamie Oliver has been voted the top celebrity neighbour ahead of TV cooking rival Lawson. The BBC2 presenter topped a poll of stars that people would want living next to them in a poll by Your Home magazine and savings firm Birmingham Midshires. Neighbours from hell were judged to be the Gallagher brothers with 40% voting the Oasis stars as the top nightmare celebrities to have next door.
UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 01: Nigella Lawson & John Diamond, Asprey's, London (Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Nigella Lawson (daughter of former Conservative Chancellor, Nigel Lawson), at the launch of her cookbook. Proceeds go the Samaritans charity. (Photo by rune hellestad/Corbis via Getty Images)
Nigella Lawson during Nigella Lawson Launches her book "How To Be A Domestic Goddess" at Waterstone Picadilly London in London, Great Britain. (Photo by Ferdaus Shamim/WireImage)
Chef and Author Nigella Lawson poses for a photograph ahead of a book signing session at Jarrolds department store in Norwich, U.K, on Tuesday, November 14, 2000. (Photo by Bryn Colton/Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 17: Nigella Lawson, Nigella Lawson Book Launch Party "How To Be A Domestic Goddess: Baking And The Art Of Comfort Cooking", In Shepherds Bush, London (Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON - SEPTEMBER 7: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK TABLOID NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Nigela Lawson attends the launch of Salman Rushdie's latest book, Shalimar The Clown, at the David Gill Galleries, September 7, 2005 in London, England. (Photo by Dave M. Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON - JUNE 1: Chef Nigella Lawson poses for a portrait on June 1, 2005 in London. (Photo by Francesca Yorke/Getty Images)
LONDON - JUNE 1: Chef Nigella Lawson poses for a portrait on June 1, 2005 in London. (Photo by Francesca Yorke/Getty Images)
LONDON - JUNE 1: Chef Nigella Lawson poses for a portrait on June 1, 2005 in London. (Photo by Francesca Yorke/Getty Images)
LONDON - JUNE 1: Chef Nigella Lawson poses for a portrait on June 1, 2005 in London. (Photo by Francesca Yorke/Getty Images)
LONDON - JUNE 1: Chef Nigella Lawson poses for a portrait on June 1, 2005 in London. (Photo by Francesca Yorke/Getty Images)
LONDON - JUNE 1: Chef Nigella Lawson poses for a portrait on June 1, 2005 in London. (Photo by Francesca Yorke/Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 16: Nigella Lawson, Ruby Wax And Jade Jagger Help Wrap Parcels, The Queens Jewelers Held A Party To Start The Final Sale At Asprey& Garrard As The Two Companies Are Seperating And Moving Apart, Garard Will Move To Its Original Site, Also Starting A New Direction With Jade Jagger As One Of Their Designers, Tonight 10% Of The Sales Was Going To The Kids Charity Which Helps The Parents Of Children With Disabilities To Cope With The Enormous Stress That Affects These Families (Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON - MARCH 5: Chief Nigella Lawson attends the 2002 British Book Awards on March 5th, 2002 at the Grovesnor House Hotel, London. (Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 16: Bob Geldof And Nigela Lawson, The Queens Jewelers Held A Party To Start The Final Sale At Asprey& Garrard As The Two Companies Are Seperating And Moving Apart, Garard Will Move To Its Original Site, Also Starting A New Direction With Jade Jagger As One Of Their Designers, Tonight 10% Of The Sales Was Going To The Kids Charity Which Helps The Parents Of Children With Disabilities To Cope With The Enormous Stress That Affects These Families (Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images)
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE -- Pictured: Nigella Lawson -- Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE -- Pictured: Nigella Lawson -- Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 PLATES -- "London Calling" Episode 101 -- Pictured: (center l-r) Contestant Sai Pituk, guest Nigella Lawson -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - OCTOBER 22: Nigella Lawson visits The Late Late Show at RTE Studios on October 22, 2010 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Phillip Massey/FilmMagic)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 16: Nigella Lawson attends The Sunday Times AA Gill Award for emerging food critics at The River Cafe on June 16, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 09: Nigella Lawson attends a private view of "Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition" at The Design Museum on May 9, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 09: Nigella Lawson attends a VIP dinner as part of the "Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition" at The Design Museum on May 09, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Joe Maher/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 09: Nigella Lawson attends the press night after party for "Nigel Slater's Toast" at The Other Palace on April 9, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 26: Nigella Lawson attends the "Out of Blue" preview screening at Picturehouse Central on March 26, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 26: Nigella Lawson attends the "Out of Blue" preview screening at Picturehouse Central on March 26, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 12: Nigella Lawson at the fourth annual Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards.Hosted by Claudia Winkleman,the awards celebrate the best in writing and broadcasting on food and drink on May 12, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Fortnum & Mason )
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 12: Mary Berry, Claudia Winkleman and Nigella Lawson at the fourth annual Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards.Hosted by Claudia Winkleman,the awards celebrate the best in writing and broadcasting on food and drink on May 12, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Fortnum & Mason )
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 12: Nigella Lawson attends the fourth annual Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards.Hosted by Claudia Winkleman,the awards celebrate the best in writing and broadcasting on food and drink on May 12, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Fortnum & Mason )
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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.

"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.

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."

READ MORE: Nigella Lawson just won the 'when I was 20' lockdown challenge

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