Oh my God, she's back again!
After winning 2015's Great British Bake Off, Nadiya Hussain has gone on to capture the hearts of the nation.
A columnist for The Times and a regular reporter for The One Show, Nadiya has presented several of her own BBC cookery series to great acclaim, with Time to Eat reaching on average 1.9 million viewers each week. Her new book 'Nadiya Bakes' has recently been released alongside a new cookery series, airing on BBC2. Here, Nadiya chats wonky cakes, her love for the Backstreet Boys, and her first love - Baking!
'As first loves go, I have many. We all have many' explains Nadiya.
'For fifteen-year-old me, it was the Backstreet Boys, who I was going to meet one day (so I told myself) and I would marry Kevin, though not before all five of them battled to win my love! Even now, at thirty-five, they still send my heart a flutter because out of all the bands that fifteen-year-old girl could have loved, they were the first.'
Unfortunately for the Florida-based quintet, they were not the only object of our Luton native's affections. 'I have had the joy of many weird and wonderful first loves. Becoming a proper older sister, when my baby brother was born, my first taste of maternal, yet not technically maternal, love. That was a first love of many to come. My first real pet, Hira the cat, she loved me like tuna and I loved her like I love crisps'.
From a list of first loves that include rollerblades and a rusty, blue, second-hand bike named 'Bluebird', that her Dad purchased for 30p from a Sunday market, there is one obvious omission.
'Like everything on my list of first loves, baking came into my life at a particular point, but unlike my memories of boy bands, rollerblades and pets, which sit somewhere in ‘things that once were’, baking is right here with me still. With my husband, with my children, with my family. Baking has become such a massive part of who I am that there is no denying it. I live it, I breathe it, I whisk, stir, measure and bake it! For goodness’ sake, I dream about it! I really do'.
The point of time in question, happened soon after Nadiya married her husband. Having set up home in Leeds, some distance from her home town of Luton, Abdal asked 'Can you bake, because I love cake?’. Nadiya recounts the process that would soon change her and her young families lives forever.
' I supposed I could bake, maybe just a little, for him. I gave it a try. It started with a wonky sponge, and he ate the whole thing. So I saved for an oven thermometer to make sure the oven temperature was regulated. The next cake was less wonky. Still delicious and he ate it again! Then some strawberry and cream muffins. A whole dozen. A little chewy, not very cake-like, tasty though, and he ate them all. By then the babies joined in too. I saved a few strawberries out of sight in the back of the fridge and tried again. Mixed the mixture a little less. There was a definite improvement. They were eaten even faster than the ones that came before'.
As married life turned to family life (with the introduction of 3 children); juggling an Open University course, night feeds, nappy changes and nursery runs, you would forgive any young mother for not wanting to pick up the mixing bowl. But, for Nadiya, baking was still a vital part of the day.
'Before I knew it I was baking bread, enriching doughs, making pastry, laminating, making starters – and killing starters! I was baking every day, all because I had someone to eat it. Baking became a part of life, like cooking, like laundry, like hoovering, like breathing. It was just natural, it was normal. And it was loved'.
'Baking has become such a massive part of who I am that there is no denying it. I live it, I breathe it, I whisk, stir, measure and bake it! For goodness’ sake, I dream about it! I really do'.
So as Nadiya reminisces about her baking journey, what can we expect from her new book 'Nadiya Bakes'? 'This book is a compilation of all the yummy ideas that fly around in my head and all the things my husband eats over and over again'.
So does she have any advice for anyone looking to find some baking love?
'Baking doesn’t have to be your first love, or indeed anywhere in a long list of loves like mine, but perhaps it’s waiting to become one of yours, and maybe you’ll find just the recipe in here to ignite the love or at the very least fuel it.'
A copy of 'Nadiya Bakes'
by Nadiya Hussain
Buy your copy of 'Nadiya Bakes'
by Nadiya Hussain
Just click the link below.
Nadiya Bakes is available to watch now on BBC iPlayer.
Try some of Nadiya's recipes from 'Nadia Bakes' by clicking the link below.
Extracts taken from 'Nadiya Bakes' by Nadiya Hussain, Michael Joseph, £22.00 (Hardback). Photography by Chris Terry.