‘I might have the best job in the world’ says Bake Off winner
Get a digital copy of the Inverness Courier delivered straight to your mobile or tablet every week
The Great British Bake Off star talks to Prudence Wade about why she’s finally doing a baking book.
She might have found fame on a baking TV show, but Nadiya Hussain has never actually written a book specifically about breads, cakes, pastries and cookies until now.
“It’s really funny, because people just made the assumption that I had already done it,” Hussain says with a laugh. “But five years later, finally writing a book that’s just about baking is really exciting… It’s a book dedicated to some of the bakes I really, really love.”
Since winning the sixth series of The Great British Bake Off in 2015, the 35-year-old has cemented herself as a national treasure. As this is her fifth cookbook, Hussain well and truly knows how things work by now – but she says choosing which recipes to include for this one was trickier than normal.
“It’s tough, honestly, when baking is the thing you do and the thing you love to do the most,” Hussain says.
Each bake had to be “something that I believe in”, she adds, “and every single recipe I test at home – I do each one and it takes me weeks, months of testing”. It might sound arduous, but Hussain calls it “my most favourite bit, because that’s when I develop them and make them the best they can be”.
As we’ve come to expect from Hussain’s cooking, the bakes are accessible, delicious, and draw their inspirations from all over the world. Before the pandemic, she says she got a lot of her inspiration from travelling – but it wasn’t always like that. It’s only really the past five years she’s seen more of the world, but this never hindered her creativity.
“Because I didn’t travel before, I only had my imagination and the internet,” she explains. “I think I still very much do that, even though I do travel a lot more. I still take inspiration from just being curious about different cuisines. I like to take their version and turn it into something a bit different.”
Baking has had quite the year too though, and Hussain understands why it’s used as a form of therapy. “Life is so busy, and what we do is spend so much time on the important, busy aspects of our life that we neglect the other bits of our life: our mental health,” she says.
She has been outspoken about her own personal struggles on that front, and says: “Baking allows me to look after the part of me that I neglect, which is my mental health.” Hussain appreciates how baking requires you to concentrate on one thing, particularly as she admits to having “a really overactive mind”.
Luckily, any time she feels overwhelmed, there are more recipes to try and cakes to bake. “I certainly don’t have room to complain,” she says with a giggle. “I might have the best job in the world.”
Nadiya Bakes by Nadiya Hussain, photography by Chris Terry, is published by Michael Joseph, priced £22. Available now. Nadiya Bakes is available to watch now on BBC iPlayer.