Nadiya Hussain, Bake Off winner and author, loves travelling. Catching up with Family Traveller recently, she shared her favourite travel moments and how to cope with fussy young eaters on the move.
Childhood holidays for Nadiya Hussain were always to Bangladesh
Eight of us on a plane, every summer. We’d jump in a car at the airport from where it was a 40-minute drive to my grandad’s village. There were no seatbelts, lots of road rage, and hardly any rules, so we’d fly around in the back of the car.
My grandad was a rice and buffalo farmer, and I’d help him milk the buffalos every morning. We were always there in monsoon season so I got used to waking up to a flood and snakes slithering up my bed. It’s not for the faint-hearted but I loved every second.
During the pandemic the Hussain family camped in their garden
We had a five-man tent with airbeds, for me, my husband and three children. We all squished in, ordered pizza and ate snacks in bed. We had a camping stove and made s’mores with melted marshmallows and chocolate digestives. I forgot to protect the ground under the stove and burnt a patch of the grass. The garden is my husband’s pride and joy. He was ordering new seeds while we were still camping!
The holiday jumping-off point for Nadiya Hussain is usually food
On a 12-day driving trip in Canada we went to a market in Toronto specifically for Nanaimo bars. They’re similar to millionaire’s shortbread, but they have a tiffin base with custard and chocolate on top. They’re sickly sweet, and also absolutely delicious.
We tend not to stay in fancy hotels. Instead, we find rough and ready side-of-the-road motels. My kids hated it at first. One day we went moose watching. Another day, we walked two-and-a-half hours to Niagara Falls to see red squirrels. My kids were exhausted and I thought I’d broken them, however, we ended up sitting for hours feeding the squirrels. It was one of the best holidays ever.
We went to Istanbul to pray in the mosques
All my kids wanted to do was eat McDonalds. We can’t eat it at home as it’s not halal, but in Turkey it is. Every day we ate one meal there. I was really excited about Turkish food, but it was slightly disappointing. I wanted to try the baklava – my husband had to spit it out. I think they use goat’s butter, so it tasted like cheese. That put me off.
Nadiya Hussain went on BBC1 travelogues without her kids
So there was a freedom. I really enjoyed Nepal. We visited a market in the foothills of the mountains where they were making selroti: a fermented rice fried in rings. The market was busy, loud, and smelly, so it was a sensory overload. In those moments, I missed the kids, but I had to step back and pinch myself. And let’s face it, once I’d eaten 18 selroti, I’d forgotten about them anyway.
There are two things Nadiya Hussain always carries with her
Whether I am at home or abroad, I always carry Maldon sea salt and chilli flakes. When you are in other countries the salt just isn’t the same. As a family we also carry halal jelly sweets as they are hard to find. Let’s just say, Colin always comes on holiday with us.