Certainly, it is one of the most beloved winners of the ‘Great British Baking Show’. Sure, her TV series and books—including her most recent cookbook—frequently have the word “baking” in the title. But if you know anything at all about Nadia Hussain, you know that she’s more than just brownies. She’s also the expert you can trust, serving up in “Nadia’s Daily Baking: From Night Dinner to Celebration Cakes, Let Your Oven Do the Work,” delightful beet salads and hearty seafood.
It all makes sense, coming from a woman who admits on her show “Everyday Baking” that while her family were keen cooks, growing up, “we didn’t bake…the oven knob was unused.” Now that she’s made up for lost time, Hussein tells Salon via email that she wants her books to “make anyone trying the recipes feel confident they can produce something delicious.”
For other home cooks who also used their oven knobs a lot, Hussein advises easing into the process. “Start with a no-bake,” she says, “Rocky Road tiffin [fridge cake]. Something you can measure, mix, and stash in the fridge—and still have fun licking the bowl, too. It doesn’t take a lot of equipment or time to get started, either. Nadia says, “I would suggest getting a set of spoons, an electric hand mixer, a few standard-sized non-stick muffin tins, and weight scales.” With these basic pieces, you can bake just about anything.”
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And when I ask, “Which will win in your kitchen—a biscuit, a pie, or a cake?” Hussain provides the perfect response. “The three,” you say. “Why do you have one when you can have all three?”
Sweet as my teeth, it was the anchovy spaghetti and bread crumbs that first called to me at the loudest voice out of the book, on a gloomy evening when it had been raining non-stop for days on end. I’d been craving something stress-free and comforting to tuck into, at least until I worked my way to dessert, and Hussain’s delicious, salty, and crunchy dish hit the spot. Filled with generous amounts of lemon and garlic, this dish is the dish that turns anchovies into a cacophony and fish-lovers swoon. “Always taste as you go. It all takes practice,” says Hussein, advice that’s impossible not to follow when your kitchen is full of the smell of toasted bread crumbs.
I’ve simplified Hussain’s recipe a bit here by browning the bread in the toaster and using scallions for quick cooking, but I promise this is still incredibly rich and outrageously comforting. And while it’s a hearty meal on wetter fall evenings, be sure to save a little room afterward for some cookies, pie, or muffin—or all three.
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Inspired by Nadia’s Daily Bread by Nadia Hussain
- 2 slices of white bread (or 1 hamburger bun)
- 8 anchovy fillets (or less if you’re shy about it)
- 1 tablespoon of anchovy oil
- 1 pound of linguine or spaghetti
- 1/2 stick of butter
- 6 cloves of chopped garlic
- 3-6 green onions, sliced
- 1 lemon
- Chopped fresh parsley, if you like
- Set a large pot of water to boil.
- Meanwhile, toast the bread and then cut it into pieces.
- Boil pasta per directions, 8-9 minutes.
- While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter over medium heat until it starts to brown. Add garlic and 2 anchovy fillets. Cook until softened, then add the green onions and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup or so of the cooking water.
- Add the pasta and reserved water to the anchovy butter, and cook until the liquid has not completely evaporated and everything is smooth and combined.
- In a food processor, mix together the bread crumbs, the anchovy oil, and the remaining anchovy fillets.
- Add to skillet approximately 2 tablespoons breadcrumb mixture, along with zest and lemon juice.
- Put the pasta on a large plate, and top with a handful of bread crumbs and fresh parsley. Enjoy right away.
I wouldn’t hesitate to throw in some olives here for more savory flavour.
One of our favorite weekend pastas
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