Review: Nadiya Hussain's new Netflix show, Nadiya's Time to Eat
Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain serves up delicious shortcuts and time-saving cheats for those short on time (or short on skills)
2015 Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain has gone from unknown quantity to one of the nation's favourite chefs. Watching her new Netflix show, it's really easy to see why.
Nadiya's Time To Eat is aimed at everyone, but particularly those who would really rather spend their time doing anything other than cooking. If you like to stand in the kitchen for three hours with dinner on the go, be my guest, but it's not for me – and anything that can cut that time down so that I can be doing other things is very much welcome. That's what this show does.
Time-saving does not mean compromise though. Sure, I can bung a pizza in the oven and spend the next 15 minutes doing other things before it's ready – but after 15 minutes all you have is a pizza. What if you have four other people to feed? Or if you have accidentally invited friends over and have subsequently realised you have no idea what you're doing?
This show is for you. Nadiya makes it possible to spend 15 minutes in the kitchen, often with stuff you have knocking about in the back of cupboards, and end up with a dinner fit to feed the family (and impress anyone you have coming over).
Aren't there tons of shows like this?
Yes, there are – but what makes this one stand out is Nadiya's unapologetic willingness to throw the rulebook out of the window and take short cuts with no shame whatsoever. She has no interest in rolling out homemade puff pastry; she got ready-rolled stuff at the shop, and it's just as good. Is she going to spend an eternity reducing cooking apples down to a pulp for her mini apple pies? She is not. What she is going to do is use apple sauce from a jar and add some spices to it. Why wouldn't she?
Then there is Nadiya herself. She is fast becoming my favourite chef because she is unbelievably down to earth, and seems to know what people can be bothered to do and what they can't. There are chefs who claim to be giving you time-saving, easy dishes – but they produce things like squeezy bottles of pre-prepared nasturtium oil, as if anyone knows what that's for. Not relatable (stop it).
It's beautiful, but I'm not about it
Nadiya is the opposite; she knows you have a tin of beans in the cupboard, and if you have a blender, she will show you how to turn them into amazing falafel that will have nobody any the wiser. She knows that if people are coming over in an hour, you're going to panic about having to feed them and she will help you use the mundane stuff you have to make it happen. She also knows what kids want and will show you how to achieve it and keep them happy.
She is positive but not phoney with it. Nothing seems particularly staged; it's just a bright, positive, pleasantly bubbly woman, in her kitchen, making your life easier. What's not to love?
What does she make?
These mini apple pies look absolutely delicious – and thanks to some shop-bought filo pastry and spray oil, they are the crispiest treats you'll ever have seen. All you need, in addition to the filo, is a jar of apple sauce and... whatever you fancy, really. Nadiya uses cinnamon and allspice, and adds some chopped nuts – but you could let your imagination go wild here. In about half an hour, they're ready to go.
This is another recipe that will take you about 20 minutes to finish, and you can do whatever you want with it. Use tortilla wraps and dip them in whisked eggs to make your egg roll, then let the frying pan do the rest. Nadiya uses tomato paste and adds mushrooms, olives, and parsley – but this is crying out for pesto, cheese and red pepper, if you ask me. A doddle, and perfect for lunch – at home or elsewhere.
Peanut butter and jelly tray bake
This is Nadiya's remedy for children who want pancakes every morning for breakfast. Who has time in the morning to stand over the hob making individual pancakes before you do the school run? She takes the entire pancake mix, swirls in some microwaved jam and microwaved peanut butter, puts it in a baking tray, and sticks the whole lot in the oven for 10-15 minutes.
Is it a breakfast? I'm not sure. But is it absolutely amazing? Strong yes.
Peanut butter chicken tray bake
I love satay, and this really isn't a million miles away from it. It's another one where you can add what you like. If you're in the mood to make your own peanut butter, go ahead (I, for one, am not). Just put chicken thighs, broccoli, onions, some curry paste, some honey and some peanut butter in the oven for half an hour, et voila.
There are tons of other sweet treats and dinner ideas for days where you are out to impress or really can't be bothered. The only problem with the series is that there aren't more episodes...