21 August 2021

Weekend Cooking: Nadiya Bakes by Nadiya Hussain

Review of Nadiya Bakes by Nadiya HussainHi all. Before you read on, note that this is the second half of a conversation about and review of Nadiya Hussain’s new cookbook Nadiya Bakes (Clarkson Potter). To see the first part of the conversation I had with Weekend Cooking host, Marg, be sure to visit her blog, The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader.

Now that you've read the start of our conversation, let me begin by telling you how excited I was to learn that Nadiya had a new cookbook coming out this summer. I’m grateful to Clarkson Potter for providing me with a digital review copy. I loved the book so much, I bought myself the hardcover.

I had to laugh at Marg’s reaction to my last question. I totally agree with her: almost every recipe looks appealing.

Me: I was curious, however, if it would be easy for Marg to find the called-for ingredients in her part of Australia.

Marg: Because there are so many recipes in this book that are a mix of cultures, some of the ingredients are a bit tricky to find in our major supermarkets. There are, however, a lot of smaller grocery stores which specialise in international ingredients and so there’s every likelihood you can find it with a little effort.

As an example, last weekend we decided to make Filo Cream Parcels, which is Nadiya’s version of a Lebanese dessert. One of the ingredients was called Orange Blossom Water. My husband did the shopping last weekend, so he looked for this ingredient at the major supermarket and couldn’t find it, then he tried another type of store where they have some unusual ingredients, and then went to the Indian grocery store.

We were watching the TV series where she shows you how to make this recipe, and she says add a splash of orange blossom water. I am not sure he was impressed that he had to go to so much effort to find an ingredient that we only used a dash of!! And now, I need to find some other recipes to use it in as I have a nearly full bottle of the stuff in the cupboard!

Review of Nadiya Bakes by Nadiya HussainMe: Most of us want to know what it’s like to use a cookbook, so when you baked out of the book, did you find the instructions easy to follow? Was there enough information so you knew how to serve or store the dish?

Marg: So far, everything I have made has worked out quite well, especially the Chocolate Caramel Flan, so the instructions are definitely pretty easy to follow. I do find there were quite a few recipes where you need a lot of bowls. Do one step, then in another bowl do this, and so on. As for storage, I am not sure that this is something I have thought about. For some bakes I don’t have to worry about this question. For others I do. Depends if my son tries it and likes it or not. For the filo parcels it suggested that they needed to be eaten within a day of making them, but we decided against trying to see that as a challenge and just stored them in the fridge. They still tasted delicious even if the filo wasn’t as crispy.

Me: Yeah, I know what you mean about not worrying about following the serve and store suggestions exactly; I'm the same way. But I was really happy that Nadiya provided storage information for the Coffee Meringue Bark recipe (see below). In this case I paid attention, and the bark held up really well despite the summer heat and humidity.

Marg: How did you like the format of the book, and have you seen any of the associated Netflix series?

Review of Nadiya Bakes by Nadiya HussainMe: I really like the great variety of “bakes” in this cookbook. When I first heard the title, I was expecting all desserts, but I was pleased to see a variety of savory bakes as well. And I love that Nadiya introduces each recipe with a note that explains her personal connection to the dish and how she tweaked it. The photos are gorgeous and I also appreciate that each recipe includes estimated prep time.

I have watched almost half of her latest Netflix series—also called Nadiya Bakes—and plan to bake along with her this fall. It’s been fun to get to know other bakers through that show. I also really liked her series Time to Eat, which is all about feeding your family in real life when you don’t have time to spend all day on just one dessert or dish. I haven’t yet looked around YouTube to see if she has additional videos, but her personality shines on camera, and I always feel as if I were visiting with a friend.

Me: What surprised you about the cookbook?

Marg: I think the thing I like the most about the cookbook is that you can hear Nadiya’s voice in the writing. As you said, on the TV show, she comes across as being really authentic, talking about her family and culture. For example, in the recipe for Honeycomb Rolls, she is talking about making the honeycomb she says
To make the honeycomb, put the sugar in a large pan along with the golden syrup. This magical stuff expands really quickly, so you do need a decent sized pan. Have a baking tray lined and greased, ready for the honeycomb to be poured onto. Prep is key here—molten sugar allows no dilly-dallying.
I can hear her saying this!

I really wish that there was a picture of every recipe, but I do wish that of every cookbook. Having said that, I do think that the book itself is very nicely styled.

I also liked the mix of recipes between sweet and savoury, vegan, no bakes, complex and simpler recipes.

Me: Oh, yes, I agree about the mix of recipes. I think almost everyone will be inspired to make several.

------------------------

I want to thank Marg for coming up with the idea for a joint review. This was a fun conversation to put together and I think we’ve given everyone a real feel for what Nadiya Bakes is all about.

I decided to share the recipe for Coffee Meringue Bark from Nadiya Bakes because it’s gluten free. It’s not vegan, but I think most of you will be able to fit this dessert into your eating plan.

I love meringue anyway, but the coffee flavor is outstanding in this bark. I also appreciate that it isn't too sweet and not at all filling. If you store the bark the way Nadiya suggests, it will last a good long time.

Coffee Meringue Bark
Makes 2 large sheets
Prep: 20 minutes
Review of Nadiya Bakes by Nadiya HussienCook 1 hour
  • Butter for greasing the baking sheets
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (125g) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee
  • 2 teaspoons hot water
  • 2 teaspoons black sesame seeds
Put the egg whites in a large grease-free bowl and have 1/2 cup (100g) sugar ready. Preheat the oven to 300F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly grease.

Put the egg yolks in a small bowl along with the remaining 2 tablespoons (25g) of the sugar. Put the instant coffee in another small bowl with the hot water and mix. Add to the egg yolk mixture and set aside.

Using electric beaters or a stand mixer if you have one, begin whisking the egg whites until really foamy. As soon as they increase in volume, start adding the sugar a small spoonful at a time, whisking for at least 10 seconds between each addition. It's really important that all the sugar crystals dissolve so the bark doesn't leak. After each addition, stop and scrape down the sides to get any stray sugar crystals. Do this until you have stiff peaks that are glossy and shiny.

Now, beat the coffee and egg yolk mixture until it is glossy, shiny, and smooth and quadrupled in size. This mixture should be really thick, but not so stiff that it will not run off the beaters.

Divide the egg white mixture between the two sheets, spreading really thin to a 12-inch (30cm) square. Drizzle the coffee mixture all over the egg whites, then sprinkle with the sesame seeds.

Bake for 1 hour, which will give it lots of time to dry out and create a really good snap. Once the time is up, let cool completely. As soon as it's totally cooled, snap into shards and pop into an airtight container where they will happily keep. Meringue bark loses its snap if left out on a humid day, so make sure to get into that airtight container once cool.

Note: Recipe and photos are shared in the context of review; all rights remain with the original copyright holder. The bark photo is my own.

Shared with Weekend Cooking, hosted by Marg at The Intrepid Reader (and Baker)

9 comments:

Mae Travels 8/21/21, 7:19 AM  

I loved Nadia on GBBS, and you have convinced me that her baking book is worth trying.
Unfortunately, we just should not be eating those wonderful desserts! In another world, I"d be a baker too.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

judee 8/21/21, 8:22 AM  

Loved reading your interview and very intrigued with the recipes ..

sherry fundin 8/21/21, 8:52 AM  

that bark looks delicious and i enjoyed the interview

sherry @ fundinmental

Tina 8/21/21, 9:13 AM  

I was just linking up with Weekend Cooking & told Marg I love your collaborative effort, a joint interview was fun to read. Love the bark you made.

Deb in Hawaii 8/21/21, 12:51 PM  

I loved this "interview" between the two of you--such a great idea. And the coffee meringue bark looks amazing and very unique too.

Melynda@Scratch Made Food! 8/21/21, 1:00 PM  

Loved this shared conversation with Marg! All her books look like good resources for delicious food.

Jackie McGuinness 8/21/21, 1:03 PM  

Joint article with you both is great. I bought one of Jennifer Croll's cocktail books after you mentioned Art Boozel.

Marg 8/22/21, 12:25 AM  

Based on our conversation I have just bought Nadiya's Time to Eat and watched the series on Netflix. There's so many new recipes I want to try now!

Claudia 9/4/21, 1:42 PM  

Thanks for including Marge's comments, as we all know she's a serious baker! The Coffee meringue bark would be a good trial, and it sounds lovely.

Thanks for stopping by. I read all comments and may respond here, via e-mail, or on your blog. I visit everyone who comments, but not necessarily right away.

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