WHERE TO WATCH:
WHAT IT'S ABOUT:
Delightful cakes and heavenly breads pop from the oven as Nadiya Hussain returns to baking, her happy place, and spotlights creative kindred spirits.
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
There's nothing I love more than experimenting in the kitchen. I've gotten quite a few cookbooks over the past year after rediscovering my love for food with way too much time to myself during lockdown. One of those books is Nadiya Hussein's Family Favourites, which my sister fittingly bought for me. And after watching Nadiya Bakes, now streaming on Netflix, I can't wait to get my hands on her latest sweet treat!
Nadiya Hussein has come a long way since she won The Great British Bake Off in 2015. She's released numerous cookbooks and made many television appearances before BBC's Nadiya's Time To Eat premiered on Netflix in 2020. Now she says she's returning to baking – her "first true love".
"For me, baking really is my happy place," she says, "and I want it to be yours too."
The eight-part series sees the Bake Off alum share a few of her favourite recipes with a special segment in each episode as she features some of the UK's best chefs. Chocolatier Aneesh Popat makes an appearance showing off his skills, while Ravneet Gill breaks down the intricacies of the mille-feuille.
It's fascinating to watch, but what I love most about Nadiya Bakes – Nadiya Hussain in general – is how accessible her recipes are.
As in Time To Eat, Nadiya Bakes sees the mom of three make a pavlova topped with cream and "tutti-frutti" bits (those store-bought chopped and candied fruits you usually only find in fruit cakes) and a classic Victoria sponge – never mind separating your eggs.
"Everything in one bowl – simple," she says, as she makes her mango coconut cake.
She lets you into her home and tells these stories of her family. While putting together the mango cake, she says: "Mango and coconut for me, those are the flavours we grew up with... we take mangoes for granted, but when my nan first came to this country, the one thing she really craved was mango, and she couldn't find it anywhere. So, whenever my nan eats mango, even now, she gets very excited."
Though they're uncomplicated, Nadiya's bakes are "classics with a twist", often spruced up with flavours that she knows and loves. Many of the British-Bangladeshi chef's recipes include ingredients that I'm used to cooking with (saffron, cardamom, mango – you name it!), so for me, that, paired with Nadiya's stories, and her infectious smile and energy when she has that first mouthful of mango coconut cake, makes this show such a joy to watch.
Nadiya Bakes is the perfect feel-good, cooking show to binge right now – especially since, a year on, lockdown's lasted way longer than the six weeks we initially thought it would (*nervously cries into cookbook opened on banana bread recipe*).
Here's a show that will reignite the baker within you, and if not, at the very least, transport you to some kind of happy place.