Nadiya’s Bri­tish Food ad­ven­ture

Bake Off champ Nadiya Hus­sain on her foodie tour of the UK and why it’s time to em­brace the di­ver­sity of our food

TV Times - - News - Nadiya’s Bri­tish Food Ad­ven­ture Emma Bul­limore

mon­day / bbc2 Last year the gen­tle chef pre­sented The Chron­i­cles of Nadiya from Bangladesh, now she’s back on our screens with an­other cook­ing-themed trav­el­ogue, this time around the UK. She’s cham­pi­oning the best of Bri­tish food while meet­ing the lo­cals who pro­duce it. I’ll be keen to see her for­ag­ing in Scot­land – I some­times did that as a wee boy!

Our high streets are burst­ing with restau­rants of­fer­ing us a smor­gas­bord of flavours, from spicy In­dian cur­ries to glo­ri­ous Ital­ian pasta. No won­der we some­times for­get to cel­e­brate our own, home­grown Bri­tish food.

Hugely pop­u­lar Bake Off 2015 win­ner and best-sell­ing au­thor Nadiya Hus­sain is hop­ing to put that right this week, as she fol­lows up her hit two-part BBC1 trav­el­ogue, The Chron­i­cles of Nadiya, with brand new eight-part series, Nadiya’s Bri­tish Food Ad­ven­ture.

‘Of course there are the clas­sic Bri­tish sta­ples, but our food has be­come so di­verse now, as have the peo­ple. I’m of­ten asked if I’m Bri­tish and of course I am!’ Nadiya tells us.

‘If you think about the ori­gin of most of our favourite dishes, they’ve usu­ally been in­tro­duced be­cause trav­ellers have set­tled here and brought their food with them. For me Bri­tish food is what I grew up with, and that wasn’t nec­es­sar­ily pie and mash.

‘As I’ve trav­elled across the coun­try for this series I’ve met so many dif­fer­ent peo­ple and they all de­scribe their food as Bri­tish.’

Start­ing in the Home Coun­ties, the series takes us across the length and breadth of the UK, as Nadiya, 32, meets the peo­ple who grow our pro­duce. And of course she uses the in­cred­i­ble fresh in­gre­di­ents to in­spire her own recipes.

Nadiya’s favourite food story came when she met an in­no­va­tive cheese­maker in Hud­der­s­field. ‘I met a lovely lady called Razan, who fled Syria a few years ago and has be­come a food pioneer,’ she tells us.

‘She used to eat hal­loumi ev­ery day for break­fast and missed it when she got to the UK, so she de­cided to use the gor­geous York­shire milk on her doorstep to make her own hal­loumi. Now she sup­plies it all over the coun­try and, I can tell you, it’s ab­so­lutely sen­sa­tional!’

Nadiya also went crab fish­ing in Nor­folk, but ad­mits she found the ex­pe­ri­ence a bit of an or­deal. ‘I went out on a boat with my fish­er­man friend Richard, and picked my own Cromer crab. I cooked, boiled and dressed it my­self,’ she re­calls.

‘I learned the hard way that I don’t have sea legs though, which was hor­rific – I spent most of my time be­ing sick over the boat! Luck­ily Richard was kind and lovely. He’s pas­sion­ate about what he does.’

Although she felt nau­seous, crab fish­ing in­spired Nadiya’s favourite recipe of the series. ‘I grew up in a Bangladeshi home with spices and in­tri­cate favours, so what I learnt in Nor­folk was that ac­tu­ally some­times one in­gre­di­ent can speak for it­self and does not need to be crowded with a mil­lion dif­fer­ent things,’ she says.

‘There was no way I could have tasted the crab if I’d put in lots of gar­lic and gin­ger, so I re­ally had to think about how to keep the meal sim­ple and tasty. I ended up mak­ing sum­mer rolls with rice pa­per and lots of colour­ful veg­eta­bles and lemon zest. It was de­li­cious!’

Once back on dry land, Nadiya was also able to dis­cover the joys of for­ag­ing in Scot­land. ‘I met a lovely guy who taught me to cook a curry us­ing noth­ing but for­aged in­gre­di­ents,’ Nadiya ex­plains.

‘I couldn’t be­lieve it. I learned all about na­ture’s su­per­mar­ket. There is so much free food and it’s there on our doorstep.’

Nadiya also vis­ited a fam­ily bak­ery to sam­ple the clas­sic Bri­tish loaf. ‘I met an ar­ti­san baker in Scot­land who took over a wa­ter­mill from his in-laws. He de­cided to run a café there and make his own bread. There was a stream of peo­ple from 9.00am to 4.00pm hoover­ing up this beau­ti­ful bread. It smelt amaz­ing!’ ex­plains Nadiya, who co-hosts BBC2’S forth­com­ing The Big Fam­ily Cook­ing Show­down and is film­ing a doc­u­men­tary on the an­nual pil­grim­age to Mecca, to be shown later this year.

Nadiya hopes her Bri­tish food ad­ven­ture, which also vis­its the West Coun­try, Wales and the Peak District, will en­tice us to take a few more risks when we’re eat­ing out. ‘It’s hu­man na­ture to eat what you’re used to, to be com­fort­able and un­ad­ven­tur­ous, but the best food is of­ten where you least ex­pect it,’ she says.

‘I base all my trips and hol­i­days around food and it’s not about fancy restau­rants – I like the teeny-wee­nie lit­tle places that sell some­thing they make with love. It sounds re­ally silly, but when food is made from the heart it al­ways tastes de­li­cious.’

Recipe taken from Nadiya’s Bri­tish Food Ad­ven­ture (Pen­guin £20), out on 13 July

There is so much free food and it’s there on our

doorstep

if you’ve ever won­dered where the Bri­tish food on your plate comes from, join Nadiya Hus­sain for a trip around the coun­try, dis­cov­er­ing where our pro­duce is farmed and grown. In part one of her ad­ven­ture, the most pop­u­lar Bake Off win­ner of all time heads to the Home Coun­ties to smoke some had­dock, pick some as­para­gus and cre­ate a deca­dent Eton Mess cheese­cake. There are some tan­ta­lis­ing recipes to copy at home, in­clud­ing beau­ti­ful cheese scones and an amaz­ing twist on Welsh rarebit. But if you en­joy the cringe fac­tor of peo­ple des­per­ately pre­tend­ing to en­joy a meal, watch out for the poor folk taste-test­ing Nadiya’s very spicy stir fry…

Nadiya trav­els the UK in search of ex­cit­ing fresh in­gre­di­ents

razan’s hal­loumi cheese is made from york­shire milk

Nadiya’s do­ing an­other food show – yay!

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