Baking is a language I never imagined I would speak. As a first-generation British child growing up in a lively, colorful Bangladeshi home, bursting at the seams with delicious exotic food, we cooked everything, we ate everything; you name it, we ate it. We ate everything . . . but cake.
We didn’t bake. We did stovetop cooking and reserved the oven space for storing frying pans and such. The oven knob untouched, never turned. It lay unused.
For some reason I never questioned it, why we never baked like Delia in her Christmas specials. She had an oven in the wall, whereas we had a free-standing one and despite my small, ever-inquisitive brain, I never questioned if they were the same thing: an oven, but just slightly different.
It was someone else’s world. Not mine; well, not until it became mine.
Eventually I realized that anyone can bake, you don’t have to have a fancy kitchen, an oven in the wall, expensive equipment, a TV show. Anyone can bake—you, even me—all you need is an oven. You don’t even have to love baking, as it’s a love that grows with time, with every bake you undertake, and before you know it you’ll be hooked on the sweet smell of baking in the kitchen.
Like me, you can learn to love baking with these straightforward, delicious, and achievable recipes. There is a recipe in here for every kind of day. Some days you might want cookies, cakes, or pastries, when you’re relaxed and have time to spare. But other days you may be spending time outdoors, or in a rush during the week, and what you need is on-the-go food, or dinner on the table fast. There are also recipes for what I call rainbow days, when you want something healthier; days when you want to chill out with something cozy; and not forgetting those big celebration days. From surprise snickerdoodle cookies, an easy oven chicken stew, and a breakfast pizza, to angel layer cake slices, a whole citrus seabass, and a stunning meringue cake, who says you can’t bake every single day?
Copyright © 2022 by Nadiya Hussain. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.