She shot into the spotlight in 2015, winning the sixth season of The Great British Bake Off, but now Nadiya Hussain is known as being one of the best-loved home cooks with a flourishing career as a TV presenter and cookbook author to boot. Since her success on the hit baking TV series, Nadiya has travelled the world sampling food from places like Cambodia, Thailand and even South Africa. She’s brought out several cookbooks such as Nadiya’s Family Favourites and Nadiya’s British Food Adventure, and she even made a cake for the Queen’s 90th birthday! It’s been a wild ride for this humble home cook, to say the least.
We caught up with her to find out more about her amazing adventures – as well as what she keeps in her pantry…
Life after Bake Off
“The biggest thing that’s changed is how much – or how little – time I spend at home. It’s comparative because, before, I was a stay-at-home mom so I was there all the time. Now, I spend time in studio and I travel to film my TV shows and to promote my projects. Don’t get me wrong, I adore my job, but there are times when I wish I was back home with my kids.
But at home, nothing has changed. I don’t have a cleaner, I do my own dishes, the kids know how to do the laundry, I cook and do the shopping. And that’s the only way I can keep a bit of balance in my life. Otherwise, it’s very easy to get sucked into the glamorous TV-celeb lifestyle where your feet come off the ground a little bit. And that’s not me.”
Baking for the Queen
“I was busy filming my first TV show called Chronicles of Nadiya in Bangladesh, so between getting home and having to present a birthday cake to the Queen, there were about five days. Nothing really ever prepares you for that kind of thing.
The day itself was a bit of a blur, not least because I was still slightly jet lagged! The Queen does not say very much, but she shook my hand and cut the cake. Then Prince Philip came round and she said, ‘This is the young lady that won the baking competition.’ The Queen introduced me! After that, I thought, okay, I’m done.
The next day, the Queen hosted the Obama’s at the palace and it’s my secret dream that she sent Michelle Obama home with a slice of my cake in a Tupperware. You never know, it could have happened.”
The pantry staples she can’t live without…
- “At least two freshly baked cakes. I like to make sure that, whatever the occasion, I have a slice of something delicious to serve to friends and family – preferably with a warm cup of tea. In my family, people pop over unannounced all the time so I have to be prepared.
- Something for storing, something for freezing, and something for the cupboard. The storing option is usually rhubarb jam – a family favourite. In the freezer, there are always one or two tubs of chicken soup; especially in winter when the’re more chance that someone in the house is fighting off a cold. And in the cupboard, I like to keep a fruitcake – it can sit there for a while, maturing and getting better and better each day.
- Then, there are the basic everyday ingredients. Butter, butter and more butter. Flour. And chocolate. Doesn’t sound like a very slimming household, does it?”
By Features Editor Stephanie van der Plank