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Food and Drink

Nadiya Hussain talks Scottish delicacies (including butteries) ahead of Taste of Grampian debut

The acclaimed chef will be hosting two cooking demonstrations on the main stage at Taste of Grampian this June.
Karla Sinclair
Nadiya Hussain MBE.

When the word buttery comes up in conversation between Nadiya Hussain MBE and I – because why wouldn’t it? – I need to repeat myself.

“You gotta say that again,” says the celebrity chef with a bewildered look on her face.

There was no judgement from my part. In fact, I am well aware that it’s rare for anyone who lives outside the north-east to be familiar with the pastry, which is sometimes described as a roadkill croissant.

Take that as you will.

Butteries/rowies are a north-east delicacy. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson

Being a delicacy in the region, I had to ask what her initial thoughts were on it – going from the name alone.

The mum-of-three went on to say: “Okay, buttery. I’m hoping it’s got a ton of butter in it.

“Listen, as long as it’s got butter in it, I’m happy. I love butter. But no, I could not guess for the life of me what that is. What is that?”

I explain butteries to Nadiya Hussain MBE – a bucket list item ticked off

Thankfully, I had researched the ingredients of a buttery ahead of our Zoom call. I had a sneaking suspicion that the question would be asked.

I tell her it’s essentially a flat, layered pastry containing butter, lard, salt, sugar, flour and yeast.

“How do you eat it? What do you eat it with? Is it for breakfast, lunch, dinner?” Nadiya asked.

I feared my explanation added to the confusion.

The pastries contain yeast and lard, among other things. Image: Wullie Marr

“You know, I’m writing this down to Google it later so I can see what exactly it looks like. I’m not picky, not picky at all. I’m quite adventurous when it comes to eating.”

She went on to say that she’s “willing to try anything if it’s something new”.

“For me, I think as a creative person, it’s always about, can I recreate that? How can I make that? And how can I try it in different ways?

“When I’m up there, I’m gonna have to find some.”

Which Scottish dishes does the celebrity chef rank highest?

Other than butteries – also referred to as rowies – there are a host of dishes that the north-east, and Scotland as a whole, is known for.

For Nadiya, who has won the hearts of millions since winning the sixth installment of The Great British Bake Off in 2015, Cranachan is a highlight.

Nadiya rose to fame after winning the sixth series of BBC’s The Great British Bake Off in 2015.

She said: “That’s one of my favorites. I did a recipe for it on my show and I do it with mango and black pepper. It sounds a little bit outrageous, but it is so good.”

The best-selling author and presenter has a string of cookery shows to her name, as well as cookbooks including Nadiya Bakes, Time to Eat, Fast Flavours and, most recently, Nadiya’s Simple Spices.

“My husband’s absolute favorite would have to be shortbread.”

The celebrity chef’s husband is a huge fan of shortbread.

To my delight, haggis got a mention too.

“I’d love to try proper haggis,” adds Nadiya.

“I’ve tried vegetarian haggis, but I have this gut feeling that somewhere in Scotland does halal haggis. It’s got to be something that’s available.”

Touching on deep-fried Mars bars and the seafood she could not live without

Butteries aren’t the only thing that Nadiya is yet to try. Although when it came to asking for her take on deep-fried Mars bars, the clue as to what they are is in the name.

A deep-fried Mars bar. Image: Sutton Hibbert/Shutterstock

“Anyone who knows me knows that as a Bangladeshi girl, we deep-fry our snacks,” she said.

“We love samosas, we love pakoras, we love puris. All of these things are deep-fried.

“I love the texture you get with deep-fried things and anyone who says to me, ‘oh, could I shallow fry or could I put it in the air fryer?’ I’m like, if it says deep-fry, then you deep-fry. Nothing is gonna give you that crisp kind of exterior that it’s gonna give you.

“I’ll deep fry anything, honestly. I love the idea of a crispy batter and a Mars bar, oozy, melted with some ice cream.”

On the topic of frying, she also shared her go-to fish and chip shop order, followed by her favourite seafood to work with when cooking.

One of Nadiya’s cookbooks, Nadiya’s Simple Spices.

Nadiya said: “Fish and chips, always. I love mushy peas, but with lots of salt and vinegar, and a pickled egg, and a pickled onion.

“But yeah, I love salmon, it’s my favourite. My kids love it too. It’s a huge go-to for us because I’ve got growing kids.”

‘For me, it’s about flavour, spices and ease’: What to expect from Nadiya at Taste of Grampian

Nadiya will be headlining Taste of Grampian 2024 on June 1.

It will mark her first time gracing the stage at the popular one-day food and drink event, as well as visiting the Granite City, which she is “really looking forward to”.

The main stage at Taste of Grampian 2023. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson

“Each region that I do food festivals in brings something entirely different,” she adds. “Every region has its own audience and comes with its own specialities.

“I’m looking forward to the people, they make the shows.

“I love events like this. It’s lovely to be a part of it, lovely to be asked and lovely to come to Scotland, to be honest. I don’t often get a chance, so any excuse.

“I’m hoping that by the time I come away, I’ll have eaten my weight in tablet because I love the stuff.”

The acclaimed chef is hosting two cooking demonstrations on the main stage, one at 11am and one at 3pm, as well as a Q&A session and a book signing.

This year will mark Nadiya’s Taste of Grampian debut.

The two demonstrations will focus on recipes from her cookbook, Nadiya’s Simple Spices – hash smash breakfast and keema plate pie, respectively.

Nadiya said: “For me, it’s about flavour, spices, and most of all ease.

“Whenever I do a recipe, whether that’s on my show or on stage, it’s all about people feeling like they can come away and not feel like, ‘oh, well, I can’t get those ingredients, I wouldn’t know where to get that from, I don’t know if I could do that, or maybe that’s too highly skilled for me’.

“It’s not about that. For me, cooking should be fun and easy.”

Banner for Taste of Grampian featuring Nadiya Hussain and Si King.

Taste of Grampian is taking place at state-of-the-art Dyce venue P&J Live for the third consecutive year, running from 10am to 5pm. This year’s title sponsor is Marks and Spencer.

Early bird tickets for admission are now on sale on Ticketmaster, priced at £12.50 (plus a £1 booking fee) and children under 12 go free.

Nadiya’s demonstrations are £20 (plus a £1.50 booking fee).