Last year, when Channel 4 poached The Great British Bake Off from the BBC, the nation mourned, before fretting where its next family-friendly foodie fix would now come from. But our hunger is about to be satisfied.
The Beeb’s answer to Bake Off arrives on BBC2 this week, as The Big Family Cooking Showdown (Tuesday at 8pm, BBC2) takes us into the kitchens of Britain’s best home cooks.
Bake Off’s favourite champion Nadiya Hussain shares presenting duties with Zoë Ball, while veteran chefs Rosemary Shrager and Giorgio Locatelli will judge 16 families from across Britain as they take on three main rounds, which include creating a meal for four for £10, sharing their foodie traditions in their own homes and whipping up their favourite family dinners in the studio – which is now a barn, as quaint as (but cosier than) the Bake Off tent.
But what about the hosts and judges’ own traditions? What’s their favourite family grub? We found out…
My favourite family meal: Cod & clementine (serves 2)
My kids, my brothers, my sisters — everyone in the family loves this recipe. When we were really young and eating clementines, my mum would say, “Save the peel!” We never really questioned it, until one day we put two and two together and realised she was putting it in the curry. That was the moment I realised that cooking is almost magical. It’s the first time I remember really understanding flavour.
My mum normally cooks it with river fish, which is slightly difficult to eat because of the bones, but my dad maintains that you’re not Bangladeshi unless you’ve got some bones stuck in your throat! Mum still doesn’t fully approve of the cod element, but I like to make my life simple.
My grandma cooked it one way, my mother another and me another. Some things are sacred, but as generations go by and life changes, recipes evolve, too. On Saturdays, my sons Musa (10) and Dawud (9) cook; they go off and do the shopping and come back and will make dinner for us.
On a Sunday my husband Abdal cooks with my little girl Maryam (6). During the week when I’m at home, I’ll do it and they’ll help. We never eat in front of the television, unless it’s a movie night and we’re having a pizza. Even if I’m in a rush or off out somewhere, I’ll sit with the kids and have a cup of tea while they eat.
Growing up, there was always freshly cooked food around. I’ve been really lucky that my children are very good eaters, they love tripe, cow’s tongue, kidney and liver! We never batted an eyelid growing up eating such treats and didn’t realise they were unusual for some people to eat — my father always had some kind of innards cooking.
It’s a way of saving money as much as anything else. But I’m a firm believer that if you’re going to kill an animal then you don’t throw bits of it away. I’m talking everything, including skin and feet — I’m not messing around!
5 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 onion, diced
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
2 clementines, peel only, sliced
Juice of 1 clementine
300g cod fillets
A large handful of coriander, finely chopped
1. Heat the oil in a medium pan over a medium heat. Once hot, add the crushed garlic and diced onion. Turn the heat down and cook gently until the onions are soft.
2. Add the tomato purée, salt and water. Cook for a further 5 minutes over a low heat.
3. Now add the turmeric, paprika and cumin, and cook gently for another 5 minutes. Keep adding small amounts of water if it starts to catch on the bottom.
4. Add the clementine peel and cook for 10 minutes, until the peel is soft and almost falling apart.
5. Use a potato masher to mash all the peel — breaking it up will intensify the flavour.
6. Add the fish, cover and cook for 10 minutes over a low heat. Squeeze in the clementine juice. Once the fish is cooked, take the pan off the heat and sprinkle over the chopped coriander.
7. This dish is best eaten with hot basmati rice.