Books & Literature

Cookbook Review: Nadiya’s Everyday Baking, by Nadiya Hussain

Make every day delicious, with all-baked recipes that let the oven do the hard work for you, to accompany Nadiya’s latest BBC2 TV series in September 2022.

Nadiya’s Everyday Baking is a colourful, creative grab bag of recipes designed to inspire us to use our ovens to take the strain out of daily cooking.

Feature image credit: Jo Vabolis

In the introduction to her latest book, British chef, author, and TV presenter Nadiya Hussain shares a surprising fact. Despite a childhood spent enjoying a wide range of exotic food, she never ate cake. The oven in her Bangladeshi home was used for storing frying pans, not baking. When she later realised that anyone can bake (you don’t need to have a fancy kitchen or high-end equipment), she developed a passion for preparing cakes, cookies, slices, and pastries as well as oven-baked savoury meals. Nadiya’s Everyday Baking is her collection of “straightforward, delicious and achievable recipes.”

Viewers of BBC Two and the SBS Food channel will be familiar with Hussain through her appearances on shows such as Nadiya’s Fast Flavours, Nadiya’s Family Favourites and The Great British Bake Off (she won the sixth series). Nadiya’s Everyday Baking is the companion to the television series of the same name, currently airing in the UK.

In contrast to the familiar structure of cookbooks, Nadiya’s Everyday Baking groups recipes according to mood and activity rather than as starters, mains, and desserts. There are savoury and sweet creations for “happy days”, “celebration days” and “chill-out days” alongside other categories. There’s also an index that allows readers to search for recipes by key names and ingredients. The hardback book features occasional photos of cooking steps with plenty of images of the finished products. Boxed text at the start of each recipe highlights the number of serves and whether the dish is vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free – useful information to have at a glance.

From finger foods (e.g. sweet potato rice paper rolls with coconut maple dip, cheese beignets) to tray bakes (e.g. kimchi chicken with buttery miso leeks, dump-it-all-in Mexican dinner) to full-sized cakes and desserts (e.g. gulab jamun cheesecake, citrus cream pudding), it’s fair to say there’s something to suit most tastes. Its diversity makes it the perfect book to open when inspiration is lacking. There’s an emphasis on colour and fun, with many of the recipes likely to tempt young cooks to experiment in the kitchen.

Sicilian meatloaf (page 234)

I was in search of a meal with significant do-ahead components and this one fitted the bill. It’s a dish of two parts: turkey meatloaf and butter beans in tomato sauce. There was nothing tricky about the process. The loaf is a mix of mince, grated vegetables and seasonings. Once the loaf ingredients are thoroughly combined, press the raw mix into a tin (or shape free-hand) and store in the fridge until needed. The sauce couldn’t be simpler. In a large, flat casserole dish, tinned butter beans are stirred through tomato soup with some chilli flakes and garlic (the recipe suggested powder but I used fresh). The two parts of the meal are baked for 30 minutes then the loaf is removed from its tin, glazed, placed on top of the beans and put back in the oven for a further five minutes before serving. The result looked good and tasted even better. I’ll be making this again but might try beef mince instead of turkey.

Surprise snickerdoodles (page 52)

I admit I’d never heard of a snickerdoodle before I saw this recipe. These little American biscuits are traditionally coated with cinnamon, but this version combines the spice with finely crushed peanuts for a salty, nutty finish. The addition of chocolate and a runny caramel centre also sets them apart from the original’s flavour and appearance. They’re a bit fiddly to make (more so than your average biscuit) but worth the effort if you’ve got some spare time. The dough is formed by adding a melted mix of chocolate and butter to dry ingredients. The dough is then divided into small portions. Next, a frozen chocolate caramel cup (bought from the supermarket in the confectionery aisle and chilled in the freezer while the early biscuit-making steps are happening) is pushed into the centre of each dough mound before the balls are rolled in the coating and baked. The result is a sweet treat with a soft surprise at first bite.

Reviewed by Jo Vabolis

This review is the opinion of the reviewer and not necessarily of Glam Adelaide.

Distributed by: Penguin Books Australia
Released: November 2022
RRP: $55

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