Beautiful baking book inspired by author’s travels

Roasted fig and saffron panna cotta
DECADENT: Roasted fig and saffron panna cotta
Image: Supplied

You know you are in for a treat when you pick up a book and it looks and feels like a fairy tale book, the kind with all your childhood favourites in it.

In this case, the book is My Sweet Life: A simple masterclass in home baking.

Described as “the only baker’s book you’ll need to satisfy a sweet tooth”, the book, by self-taught baker Faaiza Omar, is inspired by flavours from Paris to Peru and “bridges the gap between baking enthusiasts and pastry chefs with both easy and more advanced recipes”.

“There are many things that inspire me, but travel has been a major influence,” Omar writes in the author’s note.

“Although I love discovering new flavours in every city or country I visit, my heart belongs to Paris.

“As well as being the culinary capital of the world, its old-world charm speaks to the classic romantic in me and translates into my style, from food to fashion.”

And Omar has done well to capture her travels in the book, with even the colours of her baked treats evoking a sense of being transported to faraway places — pistachio making me think of Turkey and clafoutis with glossy red fresh cherries on top immediately placing me in France, even though I’ve never been there.

Before diving into her recipes, she takes care to provide some tips “to guide you when the cloud of confusion arises” because — as we all know — baking can be tricky.

Self-taught baker Faaiza Omar’s new book ‘My Sweet Life: A simple masterclass in home baking’ is beautifully presented
CAKE DELIGHT: Self-taught baker Faaiza Omar’s new book ‘My Sweet Life: A simple masterclass in home baking’ is beautifully presented
Image: Supplied

Next, she goes into detail explaining some ingredients commonly used in baking — from simple butter to pectin.

Then come the recipes, divided into six categories — cakes, cheesecakes, desserts, ice creams, petits fours and brioches.

The recipes are beautifully presented and left me salivating and, for some reason, humming My Favorite Things from The Sound of Music.

While I have been known to dabble in baking, I am by no means a baker.

But, I’ve already identified the recipe I am tackling first — a chocolatey, malty ice cream with Whispers crushed into the mixture.

Baking, Omar says, can feel a bit like making a magic potion.

“You combine ingredients into a wet mixture, place it into the oven and — ta-da — it’s a cake!

“It never stops feeling magical, no matter how often you do it.

“Enjoy the process and your achievement.”

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