Nadiya’s Simple Spices episode 4

Nadiya's Simple Spices episode 4

Nadiya’s Simple Spices episode 4 – Nadiya is no stranger to the transformative power of simple spices, a culinary secret she effortlessly applies to create dishes that are not just easy but indulgently satisfying. With her unique culinary expertise, she turns an ordinary breakfast muffin into a wickedly delightful treat that tantalizes the taste buds. But that’s not where the gastronomic journey ends. Her crab bhuna is a feast for the senses, artfully combining succulent crab meat with crisp green beans and vibrant red peppers. The dish is a visual and flavorful spectacle, reflecting her deep understanding of spices and their ability to elevate a meal.



Where Nadiya truly stands out is her ability to craft rich, soulful dishes like her cinnamon-infused beef. The dish is an epitome of unctuousness, and when crowned with red Leicester mashed potatoes and perfectly baked eggs, it’s a culinary masterpiece that could only be created by a true expert in the field. For those laid-back days when you seek indulgence, Nadiya crafts an extravagant pineapple, fennel, and ice-cream pudding. It’s a lush dessert that encapsulates the joy of guilt-free indulgence, elevating even the laziest of days into a celebration of flavors.



Meanwhile, Lisa Smith, an award-winning Cumbria baker, brings her own brand of expertise to the table by reviving the nearly forgotten Westmorland Pepper Cake, a centuries-old Cumbrian fruit loaf. The recipe had almost faded into obscurity until Lisa, recognized for her baking prowess, brought it back to life. Her dedication to preserving culinary history has made this flavorful cake a beloved staple among Lake District locals once again.



Both Nadiya and Lisa exemplify the epitome of culinary expertise, each in their own right. They craft recipes that resonate not just on a sensory level but also evoke a deep sense of cultural and gastronomic appreciation. For those yearning to venture into a world where simplicity meets sophistication, these culinary maestros offer dishes that are a testament to their extensive expertise, authentically sourced ingredients, and meticulous research, reaffirming why they are revered in their respective communities. Their shared story isn’t just a chronicle of delicious recipes; it’s a rich tapestry of culinary history and innovation, woven together by the threads of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.


Nadiya’s Simple Spices episode 4 – Nadiya’s Simple Yet Flavorful Spices for Effortless Meals


Introduction: Nadiya Hussain’s Spice-Driven Cooking Philosophy

Nadiya Hussain, the beloved British TV chef and cookbook author, has a simple yet powerful philosophy when it comes to using spices in cooking: a little goes a long way. In her popular TV series and book “Nadiya’s Simple Spices,” Nadiya demonstrates how just eight pantry-friendly spices can transform everyday ingredients into extraordinary dishes.

Nadiya calls on her simple spices once again to create deliciously easy meals with barely any effort at all: a cheeky spin on a classic breakfast muffin, a succulent crab bhuna with veggies, a rich cinnamon beef crowned with mashed potatoes and baked eggs, and a lavish pineapple, fennel and ice-cream pudding for lazy days.

Meanwhile, award-winning Cumbria baker Lisa Smith revives a centuries-old Cumbrian fruit loaf, the westmorland pepper cake, bringing this nearly lost local favorite back to life for Lake District locals to love once more.


Nadiya’s 8 Simple Yet Powerful Spices

Nadiya’s spice rack contains just eight simple spices, but within them lies a world of flavor. Her core eight spices that make frequent appearances across many recipes are:



An intensely aromatic spice originating from southern India, cardamom imparts a complex sweetness with hints of eucalyptus and citrus. It shines in both savory dishes and baked goods. Nadiya often utilizes cardamom pods, crushing them to release the tiny black seeds inside which contain the essence of the spice.


Native to the Mediterranean, fennel has a licorice-like aroma and slightly sweet, cooling taste. The seeds and fronds are used to impart subtle anise notes to dishes spanning from rich curries to seafood recipes. Fennel also aids digestion.


Hailing from Sri Lanka, cinnamon is one of the most widely used spices, valued for its warm, sweet and faintly spicy aroma. Ground cinnamon imparts depth to savory dishes while cinnamon sticks can infuse beverages and desserts with flavor.


Bright golden turmeric is commonly used in South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine. It has an earthy, bitter, slightly ginger-like zing. Turmeric serves as a flavor enhancer and coloring agent in curries, lentils and rice dishes. It also boasts antioxidant benefits.


Cumin is intensely aromatic with a sharp, bittersweet taste. Toasted cumin seeds are indispensable in curries, chili and barbecue rubs. Cumin amplifies savory qualities and ties disparate flavors together.


Chilli peppers contain capsaicin which gives them their signature spicy kick, ranging from mild to lava-hot. Nadiya uses milder chilli flakes and powders to add a gentle heat and smokiness to dishes. Chilli accentuates the flavors of other ingredients.

Bay Leaves

These fragrant, pointed leaves are used dried in soups, stews, and grains to impart a subtle grassy, herbal nuance. Bay leaves are removed after cooking as they can be sharp if chewed. They pair especially well with tomatoes, mushrooms and beans.

Curry Powder

Nadiya’s homemade curry powder contains coriander, cumin, mustard, fenugreek, chilli, cinnamon, peppercorn and bay leaves. This blend adds instant warmth and incredible depth of flavor to curries as well as stews, soups and roasted veggies.


Breaking Down Nadiya’s Spice Techniques

Within her book and TV series “Nadiya’s Simple Spices,” Nadiya offers invaluable tips, tricks and techniques for maximizing the flavors of these eight simple spices:

Toasting Spices in a Dry Skillet

Toasting whole spices like cumin or fennel seeds in a dry skillet over low heat helps intensify their aromatic oils and flavors before grinding or adding them to dishes. The difference between raw and freshly toasted spices is remarkable.

Tasting and Adjusting

Nadiya encourages tasting dishes as you cook with spices and adjusting to taste. Spices can vary in intensity batch-to-batch, so tasting and tweaking is key, along with keeping your own taste preferences in mind.

Blooming in Oil

Blooming spices like cumin or mustard seeds in hot oil unlocks their full potential. As they sizzle, essential oils are released to impart maximum flavor. Blooming spices in recipes like curries, soups or stews boosts their aromatic qualities.

Adding Early

Many spices need sufficient time to reveal their complex flavors. Nadiya recommends adding spices like cinnamon, cumin and chilli early in the cooking process rather than right before serving. This gives their essence time to infuse into the dish.

Grinding Fresh

For best results, Nadiya advises grinding whole spices like peppercorns or cardamom pods just before using them. This preserves the oils and compounds that dissipate soon after grinding. Small electric grinders make quick work of pulverizing whole spices.

Crafting Spice Blends

Nadiya often blends her core eight spices into distinctive mixes that add instant flavor to meats, veggies and more. Her popular garam masala, shawarma spice mix and art masala contain customized spice combos designed to complement specific dishes.


Key Takeaways from Nadiya’s Spice Philosophy

Some salient points to remember about Nadiya’s approach to simple, flavor-enhancing spices include:

  • A little goes a long way – small amounts of potent spices pack a punch.
  • Toasting before grinding makes a huge difference.
  • Adding spices early allows their essence to develop fully.
  • Taste and adjust spice amounts as you cook.
  • Tailor spice blends to complement specific dishes.
  • Store spices properly to retain freshness.
  • Grind whole spices just before use for maximum vibrancy.

Now let’s explore some of Nadiya’s magical spice-infused recipes, including the nearly lost peppery Westmorland fruit cake.


Nadiya’s Cheeky Breakfast Muffin Gets a Spicy Makeover

Nadiya puts a playful spin on a classic breakfast muffin by incorporating her signature spices. She starts with a base of egg, flour and milk, then folds in spiced potato cubes, spring onions and chilli for warmth. The potato adds comforting bulk while the eggs make these muffins fluffy. Nadiya’s clever trick is blooming mustard and cumin seeds in oil before mixing them into the batter. This accentuates their nutty essence.

Once baked, she tops the savory muffins with creamy labneh or yogurt cheese, a pickled fennel and chilli relish that pops with bright acidity, and fried curry leaves that lend an aromatic crunch. The multitude of contrasting textures and flavors—fluffy, spiced muffin, cool tangy cheese, crisp onions and pickled relish—make this the perfect weekend brunch treat. Nadiya’s innovative spin on breakfast highlights how just a few supporting spices can transform an ordinary muffin into something extraordinary.


Key Aspects of Nadiya’s Breakfast Muffin Recipe

  • Potato cubes: Boiled and cubed potatoes provide soft, pillowy bites throughout the muffin. Potatoes soak up spices well.
  • Cumin and mustard seeds: Blooming the seeds in oil amplifies their nutty, earthy aroma before mixing into the batter.
  • Chilli flakes: Mild chilli adds gentle heat and smokiness without overwhelming the other flavors.
  • Pickled fennel relish: Quick-pickled fennel and chilli balance the muffin’s richness with bright, tangy crunch.
  • Curry leaves: Fried curry leaves on top provide an authentic South Asian flair, aromatic and crispy.
  • Labneh: Thick, strained yogurt cheese makes a luscious counterpart to the fluffy spiced muffin. Cool and creamy.

Nadiya’s genius is taking something familiar like a breakfast muffin and reinventing it with her signature spice touches to create something unexpected yet comforting. This recipe encapsulates her imaginative approach to cooking with her core eight spices.

Crab Bhuna: Nadiya’s Spicy Seafood Curry

This creamy crab bhuna curry highlights Nadiya’s skillful use of spices to create an intensely flavorful, aromatic seafood dish without complexity. The sauce has just a few key ingredients beyond the crabmeat: onions, ginger, garlic, tomatoes and Nadiya’s homemade garam masala.

Garam masala is a foundational spice blend in Indian cuisine, containing toasted spices like cumin, coriander, cinnamon, peppercorn, cloves, cardamom and bay leaves. Nadiya’s version adds incredible depth of flavor and irresistible aroma to the crab bhuna.

She first fries the garlic, ginger and garam masala to release their essential oils in the traditional “tarka” technique. Tomatoes and onions are added next, cooked down until jammy and caramelized. Light coconut milk provides subtle creaminess while the fresh crab cooks quickly at the end to absorb all the complex flavors.

Nadiya finishes the bhuna with chopped cilantro and fresh lime juice, both of which cut through the richness with pleasant acidity. The end result is an elegant, aromatic curry that deliciously showcases how Nadiya’s garam masala spice blend can transform a few humble ingredients into a restaurant-quality dish.


Notable Highlights of Nadiya’s Crab Bhuna Recipe

  • Garam masala imparts incredible depth, aroma and nuanced spice flavor.
  • Caramelized onions and tomatoes add natural sweetness and tang.
  • Coconut milk creates a silky, luxurious texture.
  • Fresh crab cooks quickly to absorb the complex flavors.
  • Lime juice and cilantro balance the richness.

Nadiya’s crab bhuna exemplifies how thoughtfully blending spices can yield layered, sophisticated results without complexity. This recipe would suit a special occasion meal yet come together with minimal effort.


Old Cumbrian Favorite: Westmorland Pepper Cake

No discussion of spice-driven recipes would be complete without mentioning the 18th century Westmorland pepper cake that award-winning Cumbrian baker Lisa Smith has devoted herself to reviving. This historic honey and black pepper-infused fruitcake was beloved for centuries across England’s picturesque Lake District but eventually faded into obscurity.

Thanks to Lisa’s efforts in unearthing this nearly lost regional treasure, the pepper cake has been restored to its former glory. She spent years researching the original ingredients and methods of preparation.

The hallmark of this dense, sticky gingerbread-style cake is its liberal use of black pepper, an unusual and defining ingredient. The pepper’s spicy heat perfectly balances the cake’s intense sweetness from honey, molasses and dried fruits.

Lisa’s dedication to resurrecting the Westmorland pepper cake for modern audiences underscores how a beloved recipe can connect people across generations through the power of food, memory and cultural heritage. The local Cumbrian community has embraced Lisa’s version as an edible link to their history and identity.

Through one determined baker’s passion, an antique cake few living people had tasted has been reborn to be savored once more. The Westmorland pepper cake’s rise from obscurity is a story of spices, community and continuity.


What Sets the Westmorland Pepper Cake Apart

  • Extremely high ratio of black pepper adds distinctive spice and heat.
  • Intense sweetness from honey, treacle and dried fruits contrasts with pepper.
  • Dense, sticky, gingerbread-like texture and dark color.
  • Rich regional heritage as a Lake District original recipe.
  • Lisa Smith’s dedication to resurrecting a lost piece of Cumbrian history.

This lesser-known cake vividly demonstrates how bold use of spices can create unique flavor profiles with the power to connect people, time periods and places.


Nadiya’s Cinnamon Beef Crowned with Creamy Mashed Potatoes

This sumptuous cinnamon beef dish topped with red leicester mashed potatoes encapsulates Nadiya’s flair for blending spices into comforting yet elegant meals. She chooses economical beef shin which becomes fork-tender after long, slow braising.

The secret spice is of course cinnamon, which gives the gravy a subtle warmth and complexity. Nadiya braises the beef with aromatics like bay, garlic and onions plus red wine and balsamic for acidity. After reducing down, the gravy is rich, glossy and full-bodied.

For an indulgent finish, Nadiya tops the fork-tender beef with creamy mashed potatoes flavored with nutmeg and mild red leicester cheese. Their tang provides the perfect contrast to the unctuous, mellow gravy.

Finally, baked eggs nestled into the potatoes release golden, jammy yolks as the dish is devoured. Nadiya’s cinnamon beef creation may sound upscale, but at its core are humble ingredients transformed through the magic of spices into a restaurant-worthy meal.


Noteworthy Elements of Nadiya’s Cinnamon Beef Recipe

  • Economical beef shin becomes succulent and juicy when braised low and slow.
  • Cinnamon adds subtle spice complexity to the rich gravy.
  • Red wine vinegar and balsamic provide acidity to balance the unctuous gravy.
  • Creamy mashed potatoes flavored with nutmeg and cheese make an indulgent topping.
  • Baked eggs provide an opulent finish, with oozy, decadent yolks.

Once again Nadiya demonstrates her finesse at elevating humble ingredients into a showstopping dish through the thoughtful use of spices and textures. This cozy yet special meal is perfect for chilly nights.


Nadiya’s Tropical Dessert: Pineapple, Fennel and Ice Cream

Nadiya ends her latest TV episode on a sweet note with this fresh and fruity pineapple upside-down cake spun into a summery ice cream dessert. She caramelizes pineapple slices in a buttery brown sugar sauce, then layers them over fennel-infused ice cream dotted with juicy roasted raspberries.

The ingenious addition of fennel brings out the fruit’s sweetness in both the ice cream and pineapple topping. Roasted raspberries lend tart pops of color and intensify the fruitiness. Nadiya’s cooling tropical dessert creatively showcases how fennel seed can enhance fruit’s natural sugars and perfumy aroma. Its anise-like licorice notes mesh seamlessly with the pineapple’s tropical flavors.

The luscious ice cream base uses custard and cream infused with lightly crushed fennel seeds. Their elusive yet alluring flavor permeates the entire dessert without overpowering the fresh fruit flavors. Nadiya has an uncanny knack for combining unexpected ingredients like pineapple and fennel in ways that feel meant to be. This refreshing dessert is as effortless to make as it is scrumptious to devour.


Standout Qualities of Nadiya’s Pineapple Ice Cream Dessert

  • Caramelized pineapple slices provide sweetness along with buttery richness.
  • Fennel seeds infuse the custard and cream ice cream base with subtle licorice notes.
  • Roasted raspberries offer bright, tangy bursts of juicy fruit flavor.
  • Minimal ingredients allow the fruits’ natural flavors to shine.
  • Light and cooling, perfect for warm weather enjoyment.

This delectable dessert is a timeless classic that we find ourselves coming back to, time and again. Ideal for rounding off a scrumptious meal, its allure lies in the sumptuously stewed pineapples that take on an almost candied quality. The true magic happens when you warm them up again—each reheating session seems to enhance their mouthwatering flavors, making them increasingly irresistible.

Stewed pineapple
Stewed pineapple


  • 750g/1lb 10oz frozen pineapple chunks
  • 250g/9oz caster sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 150g/5½oz ghee

To Serve

  • ice cream of your choice


  • Put the pineapple in a medium non-stick pan with the caster sugar, bay leaves, cardamom, cinnamon and fennel seeds. Put over a high heat.
  • Let the pineapple boil in its juices for 20 minutes (lots of liquid will be released from the pineapple). Reduce the heat and then simmer for another 20 minutes.
  • Add the ghee and cook gently until the pineapple is a clear amber colour.
  • Serve the stewed pineapple hot with a dollop of cold ice cream.

Nadiya’s ingenious use of humble spices consistently unlocks new dimensions of flavor in dishes that let high quality ingredients star. This pineapple dessert epitomizes her less-is-more approach.


Conclusion: The Power of Simple Spices

Nadiya Hussain has demonstrated through her latest TV series and cookbook that just a handful of humble spices, thoughtfully used, can elevate everyday cooking in endlessly creative ways. Her recipes encourage cooks to get the most from their spice racks by learning techniques like blooming whole spices in oil and grinding them fresh.

Equally as important as specific recipes are the foundational flavor philosophies Nadiya imparts. Her guidance teaches home cooks not to be intimidated by spices, but to embrace them as tools for culinary exploration and connection.

Regional heirlooms like the peppery Westmorland fruit cake teach us how traditional dishes can forge bonds across generations when their origins are lovingly kept alive. Food and spice traditions throughout history have always given people a sense of community, culture and comfort.

Nadiya breathes new life into this timeless role of spices through her infectious passion for unleashing their flavor potential in dishes both nostalgic and innovative. Her eight simple spices hold remarkable power to turn the familiar into something wonderfully new again.


Frequently Asked Questions


What are Nadiya Hussain’s 8 essential spices?

Nadiya’s core spice rack contains cardamom, fennel, cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, chilli, bay leaves and curry powder.

What main lessons does Nadiya teach about cooking with spices?

Key lessons include toasting whole spices before grinding, adding early in cooking, tasting as you go, and creating multifaceted blends.

How did the old Westmorland pepper cake nearly disappear?

This 18th century English fruitcake faded into obscurity until Cumbrian baker Lisa Smith revived the original recipe through painstaking research.

Why does Nadiya bloom spices like cumin in oil before mixing into dishes?

Blooming whole spices like cumin in hot oil helps intensify their essential oils and aromas before incorporating into recipes.

What cuisine most inspires Nadiya’s use of spices?

Nadiya takes culinary influence from South Asian traditions, especially Indian cuisine, which artfully blends aromatic spices.

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