Known for her bold and surprising flavour combinations, Nadiya Hussain loves to throw the rulebook out of the window, always finding ways to take familiar recipes to the next level. Now she makes it easy for others to do so too, with a host of everyday recipes that are guaranteed to send your taste buds into overdrive.
Sour, sweet, spicy, zesty, earthy, fruity, herbal - her delicious recipes offer new and innovative ways to pack your meals with flavour, using clever shortcuts, hacks and handy ingredients to put the va-va-voom into your food without spending hours in the kitchen.
Banana thyme loaf
We all love a banana bread. But when you can't decide between baking a favourite, or baking something a little bit different, this is the perfect compromise: a moist banana bread flavoured with the aroma of thyme and finished off with a sticky sweet salted caramel.
- 4 small bananas, 3 mashed (340g prepped weight), 1 sliced lengthways
- 50g salted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing the tin
- 175g caster sugar a pinch of salt
- a large sprig of fresh thyme, leaves picked
- 120ml olive oil
- 75ml whole milk, at room temperature
- 300g self-raising flour, sifted
For the salted caramel
- 100g caster sugar
- 45g salted butter
- 60ml cream
- 1/2 tsp salt flakes
- Put the mashed bananas in a bowl and leave out for half an hour to oxidize - this will make them browner and add to the colour. Or if you are in a rush, just mash the bananas and get to baking the loaf.
- Line and grease a 900g loaf tin and preheat the oven to 180°C/ fan 160°C.
- Add the butter and caster sugar to the banana and mix until combined, then add the salt and thyme leaves, reserving a few to sprinkle over at the end. Now pour in the olive oil and milk and mix through. Add the sifted flour and fold through until you have a smooth cake batter.
- Pour the mixture into the tin and level off with a few sharp taps, add the two slices of banana, cut-side up, and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, covering loosely for the last 15 minutes to stop the top browning too much. You will know the cake is ready when a skewer inserted comes out clean.
- Meanwhile, make the caramel by adding the sugar in an even layer into the base of a pan, on medium to low heat, and watch as the sugar turns to caramel, stirring it occasionally. As soon as the sugar melts, add the butter. If you find it seizing, don't worry, just keep stirring over a very low heat and the caramel will come together. As soon as the butter has melted, add the cream. Cook on a low heat for 2 minutes till you have smooth caramel. Take off the heat.
- Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then take out and leave to cool on a wire rack.
- As soon as it has cooled enough, drizzle over the caramel. If you find it has become too stiff, warm through gently and then drizzle. You will have caramel left over but not to worry, because we all need a little extra caramel and it's perfect served on the side for anyone who wants some more to pour over. Sprinkle with a few thyme leaves, if you like.
Sweet and sour prawns
This isn't even about recreating a takeaway meal, because when I want the ease of ordering food, no amount of replicating at home will compete with the need to do nothing. So instead, this is for when you just know you want sweet and sour prawns! Packed with sweet veg, pineapple, cashews and crispy prawns, it's perfect with noodles.
For the prawns
- 100g cornflour
- 2 egg whites
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp cold water
- oil, for frying
- 300g raw king prawns
For the sauce
- oil, for frying
- 50g cashews
- 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
- 1 red onion, cut into 3cm chunks
- 2 red peppers, cut into 3cm chunks
- 220g tin of pineapple, chopped into chunks
- 4 tbsp ketchup
- 3 tbsp vinegar
- chopped fresh coriander
- 3 spring onions, chopped in long pieces
- cooked noodles
- Put the cornflour in a bowl with the egg whites, pepper, salt and water. Mix to a smooth paste.
- Pour the oil into a frying pan so you have a thin layer of oil covering the base of the pan. Dip the prawns in the batter and fry over a high heat for 3-4 minutes until crispy and golden on both sides. You will need to do this in a few batches. Drain on kitchen paper.
- Now wipe out the pan and pour in another drizzle of oil. Add the cashews and toast until golden. Add the slices of garlic and cook till crisp and brown.
- Add the onion and pepper chunks and cook till just soft but still crunchy - this should only take 3-4 minutes. Now add the pineapple, ketchup and vinegar and mix through.
- Toss in the prawns and mix through, then finish by mixing in the coriander and spring onions. Serve with noodles.
Lemon lamb with jewelled couscous
We all need a whopper of a recipe in our repertoire, and when I do roasts, my kids prefer lamb. So I always go for a big piece of butterflied lamb. Here the meat is covered in a zingy mix of preserved lemon and ras-el-hanout, baked in the oven, and then popped onto a cosy bed of couscous and baked again, ready to slice up and serve.
For the lamb
- 350g jar of preserved lemons, drained
- 3 tbsp runny honey
- 65g ras-el-hanout
- 200ml oil, plus extra to serve
- 750g butterflied leg of lamb
For the couscous
- 150g baby spinach leaves 250g couscous
- 100g pine nuts
- a pinch of saffron strands
- a large bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
- 80g pomegranate seeds
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C and have a tray large enough to lay the leg of lamb in comfortably. Place the spinach into the base of the tray.
- Halve the preserved lemons and remove the seeds, but be sure to keep the flesh in. Put in a blender along with the honey, ras-el-hanout and oil and blend until smooth.
- Pour the mixture all over the leg of lamb on both sides and roast for 30 minutes.
- Remove the tray from the oven and add the couscous, pine nuts and saffron, mixing them in with the spinach. Pour in just enough water to cover the couscous and put the leg of lamb back on top.
- Cook for another 20 minutes.
- Remove the tray from the oven, take out the leg of lamb and leave to rest.
- Fluff the couscous up with a fork and transfer onto a platter.
- Slice up the leg of lamb and place on top of the couscous. Sprinkle over the coriander and pomegranate seeds, drizzle with a little olive oil and it's ready to serve.
- Nadiya's Fast Flavours by Nadiya Hussain. Penguin Books. $49.99.