From Bombay burgers and a family favourite paneer pilau to clever cakes and bakes, Nadiya Hussain is having fun with flavour.
16 Nov 2022 - 8:43 AM  UPDATED 22 Nov 2022 - 2:55 PM

--- See Nadiya's Fast Flavours Thursdays at 8pm on SBS Food from 17 November to 29 December (no episode on 15 December, due to festive programming). See episodes here at SBS On Demand after they air ---


“Let’s throw the rulebook out of the window,” says Nadiya Hussain – she’s talking about playing with unusual flavour combinations, and when the cheery former Great British Bake Off winner and cookbook author applies that approach to everything from mac and cheese (“packed with instant flavour cheats”) to sweet focaccia (“my twist … it’s like coffee and walnut cake in bread”), the results are delicious.

In Nadiya’s Fast Flavours Hussain isn’t just breaking the rules. It’s really more about making the most of flavour – trying new things, being adventurous, and finding shortcuts to great taste. Sometimes it’s about taking a much-loved classic and making sure we’re not bored with it (hello, caramel and thyme banana bread). Sometimes it’s a homage to flavours from her past. Hussain also catches up with other cooks and food writers who share her passion for flavour, from writers Olia Hercules and Sabrina Ghayour to supper club host Fozia Ismail and pastry chef Dinesh Patel.

Here's a taste of what you can expect:

Comfort Food

A classic macaroni cheese is transformed with the addition of evaporated milk for richness, Worcestershire sauce and yeast extract for depth of flavour, and crushed cheese puffs for the ultimate cheesy kick. “I've taken the feel-good factor and supersized it,” she says. Nadiya then shares her tried and tested recipe for beef vindaloo, letting us into kitchen secrets passed down from her mum and grandma, plus treating us to her time-saving trick for the perfect paratha. Next up, it's Nadiya's twist on classic French toast, swapping eggs for comforting custard and a standard syrup for a bejewelled maple and pistachio crumb. Finally, Nadiya turns her attention to her first love, baking, and rustles up an epic feel-good ice-cream cake, packed with fresh blueberries for zing, and fennel seeds for a wonderfully unexpected hit of citrus. She also catches up with Olia Hercules, who shares her recipe for borscht, a comforting but complex vegetable and herb broth, that brings back happy childhood memories of family life in Ukraine.


Quick & Easy

Looking for recipes that will fit into all our busy lives? As a working mum of three, Nadiya is no stranger to juggling work and family, and in this episode, she shares useful recipes that are all loaded with flavour but can be rustled up in no time. She loves a sandwich but firmly believes that no sandwich should ever be boring. Why stick to the same tried and tested fillings when you can have so much fun experimenting with new flavour combinations? Inspired by a trip to Louisiana, she cooks up a delicious crabstick po'boy sub sandwich, stuffed to the brim with crunchy and quick-to-cook crabstick pakoras, served with a zingy garlic mayo made with the ingenious addition of fruity apple sauce. Nadiya then turns her attention to one of her go-to simple suppers, sweet and sour stir-fried prawns, on a bed of wok-fried noodles. No matter how manic life is, Nadiya always makes time for cake, and her chocolate and cherry dump cake spiced with cinnamon is so easy. "A fast fix for special occasions.  You may think you don't have time for dessert, but that's not true with this," she says. "You dump it all in and you bake it. It's that quick." Finally, Nadiya shares one of her favourite speedy family meals, a spinach and paneer pilau, all in one pot and topped with eggs and crunchy red cabbage.


Treat Yourself

In this episode, Nadiya pulls out all the stops as she turns her attention to sweet sensations. First up is a magical custard tart with a creme brulee twist. Nadiya starts by making a shortcrust pastry laced with crushed hazelnuts for texture and salted pretzels for the wow factor. Next, she makes a luxurious silky custard filling, which is oven baked, sprinkled with sugar and blowtorched, creating the signature brulee finish. It's pure indulgence from top to bottom. Next, Nadiya shifts her focus to bread, and rustles up a fabulously fancy focaccia. She loves to bend the rules, so instead of sticking to savoury, she is going sweet. Her recipe takes its inspiration from the winning coffee and walnut combo often found in a cake. The springy light dough is laced with nuts, while the top is infused with an aromatic coffee and olive oil glaze, and finally decorated with a glorious coffee icing. A treat for any time of the day, all you have to do is just chop it up and chomp!

Biscuits are next on the agenda and it's classic shortbread that is next in line for a makeover. Nadiya makes a fool-proof biscuit dough but injects maximum flavour using lemon zest and fresh basil. Her light, buttery shortbread rounds are sandwiched with a sublime filling of rich white chocolate and zesty raspberry jam. Finally, Nadiya takes on one of the most classic flavour combinations of all time, chocolate and mint. But this isn't about mint choc chip, this is about an epic no-bake that is choc full of cheats! Nadiya cheekily uses store-bought mini rolls, blitzed up and squished together, to create an instant layer of cake. She then makes an effortless minty cream filling, and tops the choco-mint roll with fresh mint leaves, dipped in melted dark chocolate for an intense minty hit. Pastry chef Dinesh Patel makes his signature Shrikhand cheesecake, a sensational dessert that combines elements of a classic cheesecake with flavours found in a traditional Indian sweet treat.


Fresh & Healthy

Life is about balance, so while there are times when we want to indulge, there are other times when we crave lighter alternatives. To kick off, Nadiya cooks up a bright and beautiful butternut soup, that is wholesome and feelgood. Nadiya makes the flavour sing by adding subtly spiced saffron for warmth and grapefruit juice for an intense citrus hit. Nadiya hates waste, so instead of throwing away the seeds, she toasts them in oil before sprinkling them with fragrant mango powder and using them as a crunchy topping. Next up is a delicious crunchy salad, inspired by a filming trip to Thailand. While filming a scene in a market, she had a crunchy papaya salad with green beans and peanuts, and her mind was blown. Inspired by that very moment, Nadiya has created a version of this Thai classic, using cucumber, juicy prawns, and a punchy dressing packed with all those sour, sweet, tart, and spicy Thai flavours. Nadiya always has cake in the house and next she shares her recipe for a vegan and gluten-free apple and olive oil bake, a lighter alternative to some of her more decadent recipes, and full of fresh fruity flavour. Plus, it's a doddle to make. Finally, Nadiya turns her attention to a roast dinner, but a lighter alternative to a meaty Sunday roast. As the centrepiece, she takes a side of fresh salmon and coats it with a seriously tasty salsa verde crumb, and caramelised miso onions make an unforgettably delicious side. And her guest, cookery writer Georgina Hayden, shares a treasured recipe for a healthy Greek Cypriot kebab, with a glorious zesty salad with creamy avocado, punchy radishes and a zingy lemon and tahini dressing.


Chill Out Days

In this episode, Nadiya Hussain conjures up the ideal recipes to chill out with on a lazy day at home. Whether it's a weekend, a school holiday, or a leisurely day off, Nadiya has stress-free recipes up her sleeve to bring the fun back into our food. First up is banana bread, the recipe that became a lockdown cliche, but this is Nadiya's twist on the classic loaf and it's far from boring! Inspired by the fact that the banana plant is in fact a herb, Nadiya adds fresh thyme leaves to her cake batter to add an elegant flavour boost. She adorns the top of her banana thyme loaf with a simple but sublime salted caramel, creating a luxurious banoffee hit.

Next up its burgers, a big deal in the Hussain household, but these are surprising and outrageously tasty. These Bombay patty burgers are veggie burgers, made with the Indian snack Bombay mix! Next, Nadiya lights up the BBQ, after all, chill-out days and cooking over fire go hand in hand. Her sticky sriracha and honey chicken is an easy but delicious way to BBQ in style, with a side of chargrilled smoky aubergine, drizzled with a retro-inspired curried coronation sauce. Finally, Nadiya indulges her love of baking, as she turns her attention to an epic apple and custard pie: a dreamy dessert to put your feet up with and unwind. She also catches up with Shropshire BBQ expert Adam Purnell, who shares his mouth-watering recipe for tomahawk steak cooked over an open fire.


Special Occasions

In this final episode of the series, Nadiya turns her attention to one of her favourite things, special occasions, with recipes for all kinds of celebrations. Nadiya gets the party started with her spectacular lemon drizzle swirls. A twist on the cinnamon bun, these fluffy lemon and cardamom-scented creations are topped with a pillowy citrus frosting and are the perfect way to start any special day. Next, Nadiya rustles up an extraordinary date night dinner, an earthy chicken stew with a phenomenal 30 cloves of garlic! Nadiya chuckles at the thought of a romantic meal for two loaded with so much pungent garlic but her ingenious recipe gently poaches the cloves in water, transforming them into something more subtle and aromatic. This heady dish loaded with paprika and black olives are served with a fabulous Malaysian pancake called roti jalla. This visually spectacular accompaniment looks fiendish but is in fact foolproof to make thanks to Nadiya's simple hacks.

Nadiya has an enormous family and at any get-together, there is always a table piled high with food. Her roast leg of lamb with jewelled couscous, pomegranate seeds, preserved lemons, and pine nuts is a whopper of a recipe that provides a spectacular but stress-free centrepiece. Finally, it's all about Nadiya's first love, cake! A festive rich red velvet cake, smothered in a snowy white cream cheese frosting, topped with fresh strawberries and an elegant drizzle of decadent melted chocolate. Her guest, cookery writer Sabrina Ghayour, makes a celebratory Persian rice dish, laced with saffron and fresh orange, and piled high with king prawns.

more from nadiya
Peanut butter egg curry

An egg curry was something we normally ate at home when Mum’s dozen other curries were depleted. But an egg curry can shine all on its own – it needn’t be the understudy or Plan B to something better. Oh no! This curry is packed with flavour and finished with peanut butter for the smoothest sauce ever.

Sumac plums

Simple desserts are often overlooked, but they need not be, and can be jazzed up using warming spices. I love these plums, which are roasted with the stones still in to give them maximum flavour. With vanilla fragrance and the sharpness of sumac, they are delicious served with yoghurt and some crushed amaretti biscuits.

Lemon syllabub

The simplest of all recipes, this set-custard-slash-mousse pot is creamy, zesty and entirely foolproof. Using very few ingredients, the syllabub is infused with thyme and set with lemon juice. Simply serve with sponge fingers and a good cup of coffee.