Nadiya Hussain has won Bake Off, put out a slew of cookbooks and is always on the telly. She tells Ella Walker that food is meant to be fun

NADIYA HUSSAIN is a total rule-breaker these days. "I'm a part of two very different worlds - I'm British and I'm Bangladeshi," the 33-year-old explains, "and because I'm part of these two amazing worlds, I have no rules and no restrictions."

Which is why, three years on from winning Great British Bake Off, the Luton-born home cook is back with a new cookbook and accompanying BBC series, Nadiya's Family Favourites, in which she comprehensively "demolishes" the pork pie.

In fact, she's entirely reimagined the classic picnic snack, and gone and stuffed a hot water crust pastry case with a samosa filling. "I've taken the pork out and put the samosa in," she says, giddy on her own culinary power. "I have no rules, and because I have no respect whatsoever for tradition, I can do whatever I want, and that's why I feel so lucky."

This recipe collection also sees her flip a baked cheesecake upside down, make a single eclair into a colossal cakey-roll, invent a fish finger lasagne (really!), swap the prawn in prawn toast for chicken, and 'spike' a dish of macaroni cheese with piccalilli - the woman's a maverick.

However, her approach to clashing and mixing flavours and food-based institutions has triggered some tutting and huffing. Notably, she attracted criticism from the "Cornish pasty police" after she made some packed with lamb, apple and peas. "I got a massive telling off," she says, with an equally massive grin. "What's wrong with changing things around and making them taste different? I think people are just scared that it might be better than the original."

Food, Hussain says, is meant to be fun and experimented with. "It's an expression of love. Why not mess about with it? It's fun and it's exciting; food is meant to bring joy and happiness - and bring families together."

She might be all about breaking rules in the kitchen, but she does have rules when it comes to sitting down to dinner. "There's one rule in our house and it is: 'This is not a restaurant, you will eat what you're given'. That's it, so if you don't eat what you're given, then you go to bed hungry, it's as simple as that."

Luckily, she and husband Abdal have managed to produce children that aren't fussy-eaters, so much so that the week before we chat, she had all three begging her to dole out fragrant bowlfuls of fish head curry. "They were all over it like, 'Mummy! Please can we have that right now?' I was like, 'No, that's tomorrow's dinner. They just love fish head curry - and tripe!"

Tripe is not fashionable. Tripe is white, blubbery, cow stomach. Tripe cannot compete with the likes of fish fingers and pizza when it comes to child-friendly food - right?

"They love tripe!" Hussain promises. "Cook it down slowly for six hours, get it really soft - I cook it with a bit of vanilla just to get rid of some of the smells, some vegetables, then I take it out, pat it dry, cover it in flour and egg, then I crisp it up and slice it." She serves it in a curry sauce with rice, and convincingly makes tripe sound delicious. Plus, it's "cheap as chips" and when it comes to costs, as well as health, Hussain is ever aware.

"Everything in moderation... I can cook all the food that I cook, but we have balance and that's really important," she says. "I shouldn't feel guilty for cooking the things that I love, or that my family love. We eat, we enjoy it, we have balance - why not?"

  • Nadiya's Family Favourites by Nadiya Hussain, photography by Chris Terry (Michael Joseph, £20)

Grapefruit chicken

(Serves 6)

For the stew:

1kg skinless boneless chicken thighs, diced

1tsp ground turmeric

4tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 small onion, finely diced

1tsp salt

2tsp ground cumin

1tsp chilli flakes

1 large grapefruit, juice (about 150ml) and zest

500ml hot water

2tbsp cornflour mixed with 2tbsp water

A large handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

For the couscous

400g couscous

1tsp salt

2tbsp unsalted butter (30g)

550ml boiling water

1. Put the chicken into a bowl, add half a teaspoon of turmeric and mix until all the chicken is covered. Place a large saucepan on the hob on a medium to high heat and add the oil. Fry the chicken in batches, until cooked and brown around the edges. Put back into the bowl and set aside.

2. Add a little extra oil, about a tablespoon, to the pan. Add the garlic, onion and salt and cook until the onion is soft - this can take 10-15 minutes.

3. Now add the cumin, chilli flakes and the remaining half a teaspoon of turmeric and cook for a few minutes.

4. Add the grapefruit juice and zest, along with the browned chicken. Mix through, then add the hot water.

5. Stir in the cornflour/water mixture, then cover the pan with a lid and cook for 30 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, put the couscous into a bowl and stir in the salt. Put the butter on top. Pour in the boiling water until it reaches about 1cm above the couscous. Cover, then set aside so that the couscous can soak up the water.

7. When the chicken stew is cooked, take it off the heat and add the parsley. Serve the stew with the couscous.

Butternut squash and pasta soup

(Serves 4)

1 butternut squash (1.5kg, prepared weight 900g)

5tbsp olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

2.5cm of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

1tsp salt

1tsp chipotle chilli flakes

1l vegetable stock

100g orzo pasta

To serve:

50g watercress, finely chopped (plus extra, unchopped, for the top)

1 lime, zest only

Balsamic vinegar, to drizzle

1. Prepare the squash by cutting off the top and base, so you have a stable surface at either end. Cut into four equal pieces and peel away the outer skin. Remove the seeds and chop the flesh into 2.5cm pieces.

2. Put the chopped butternut squash into a microwave-safe bowl and cover the top with cling film, making sure to secure the edges. Microwave the squash on high for 10 minutes. This could take a few minutes longer or a few minutes less, depending on the strength of your microwave. I would check on it at eight minutes and then keep going in one minute bursts. You will know the squash is ready if, when you press it, it gives way easily. Remove the cling film and set the squash aside. This step will save lots of time.

3. Put the oil in a large saucepan on a medium heat. When it's hot, add the garlic and ginger and cook for just a few minutes, until the garlic is golden.

4. Add the cooked squash to the pan and stir to coat it with the garlic and ginger. Season with salt and add the chilli flakes. Pour in the vegetable stock and cook on a medium heat for about 20 minutes.

5. Take the pan off the heat and blend the mixture to a smooth soup, using a stick blender.

6. Now put the mixture back into the pan, add the orzo, and cook for about 10 minutes on a medium to low heat, until the pasta has cooked.

7. Take off the heat. Serve in bowls, with the watercress, lime zest and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.