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Exclusive Interview with Great British Bake Off's Nadiya Hussain

We met Great British Bake Off Winner Nadiya Hussain to talk about her love of cooking for her family, new children’s book, her favourite places to dine in Yorkshire and upcoming TV show. Nadiya also shares with us her Parsnip and Orange Spiced Cake recipe.
Before the Bake Off what did you do and what made you get into baking?
Before the Bake Off I was a stay at home mum, this is where I taught myself to bake and cook. I wanted to learn for my kids and make everything from scratch to feed my family good food.
Who’s been the biggest influence on your cooking so far?
There are a number of people from my old Home Technologies school teacher Mrs Marsh to my Dad, Nan, children and husband who loves cake!
What was the aim of your latest cookbook?
It was my opportunity to share recipes that came naturally to me. I wanted the cookbook to reflect how I cook in my own kitchen and how I like to feed my family. Each chapter relates to parts of my life, like ‘lazy Sunday mornings’ or ‘dinner date’ for example. I wanted it to be an extension of me so people could sense ‘Nadiya’, my family and my home.
Do you test your recipes on your friends and family?
Always, all the recipes in the cookbook have already been eaten and tested out by my kids.
What are your essential ingredients that you couldn’t live without?
I think the staples are the most important. So for me it would be eggs. I can make cakes with eggs, breakfast, curries with eggs and souffle. They are very versatile.
What is your favourite recipe from the book – or the one you are most proud of?
There are so many to choose from it is hard to pick one. So I would say the ‘Bangladesh Traditional Korma’ as this recipe was one that my Grandma used to make and also my ‘Mango and Parsley Pavlova’ as I like to put a twist on things.
Could you tell me a bit more about the aim of the children’s book you are writing at the moment?
My kids are big readers and as I spend most of my time in the kitchen at home, they used to come in and ask for me to stop and read them a chapter whilst I was cooking. So this is what inspired the book, it contains stories which relate to recipes in the book, to get children into cooking and to make the kitchen interactive.  (The book is out in September 2016 for reading ages 5-11 years).
Do you have a favourite place to eat in Yorkshire?
I would say Betty’s in Harrogate and Cona in Bradford.
What food, drinks or trends excite you right now?
I do enjoy the variety of street food available to us, you will often find me going early to Trinity Kitchen Leeds whilst I am out shopping, to sample the Vietnamese food, Rola Wala and ooh yes Cabana! It is making me hungry now thinking about it! I need to create some Bangladeshi street food!
How was it to film your new TV program?
It was amazing, I had not been to Bangladesh for 11 years, so it was a real opportunity to go on my own and rediscover parts I’d not been to before. The program is all about travel, cooking and family which will be released in summer. The travel cookery show will see Nadiya travel to Bangladesh to trace her culinary roots.


Serves 10
Prep: 25 minutes Cook: 30 minutes
Now, before you say it – yes, there are parsnips in this cake. My parents love a good carrot cake, but when it’s the only thing they ask me to bake because they are not adventurous enough for much else . . . well, I had to change it up just for my own creative sanity. Carrots may give colour, but parsnips add a similar flavour and sweetness with a whole lot more fragrance, so this isn’t as bold and daring as it might sound from the title. It’s a moist and delicious cake, and an excellent alternative to carrot. You could also give this recipe a go with courgette or beetroot. They all add different things and work equally well.spiced parsnip cake 3edited

For the sponge
230g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons ground mixed spice
200g caster sugar
100g walnuts, chopped, plus extra for topping
3 medium eggs
150ml sunflower oil
500g parsnips, peeled, ends trimmed and coarsely grated
zest of 2 oranges, plus extra for decoration
For the frosting
50g unsalted butter, softened
200g full-fat cream cheese
150g icing sugar
zest of 1 orange
To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C. Grease and line the base of two 20.5cm sandwich tins with baking paper.
In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and mixed spice. Add the caster sugar and chopped walnuts, mix through with a wooden spoon, and set aside.
Put the eggs and sunflower oil in a different bowl, and beat for a few minutes. Now mix all the dry ingredients into the egg and oil mixture, along with the grated parsnips and orange zest. Mix everything together until you have a thick batter; about 2 minutes.
Divide the mixture between the two cake tins, and level it off using a spatula. Bake for 25–30 minutes. The cakes should be golden, and a skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean.
Leave the cakes in the tins for 10 minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack and peel off the baking paper. Leave to cool completely.
To make the frosting: In a bowl, beat the butter with a wooden spoon then add the cream cheese and icing sugar. Beat until it all comes together, but be careful not to overdo it, or the frosting will become runny.
Leave the frosting in the fridge until you need it, if your kitchen is really warm.
Take your cooled cakes and sandwich them together using the frosting. Top the cake with lashings of frosting and sprinkle with walnuts, and some extra orange zest.
Copyright: Nadiya’s Kitchen by Nadiya Hussain is out now (Penguin, HB, £20)

Written by

Tara Harris


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