In My Sweet Life, self-taught baker Faaiza Omar had put together a collection of recipes ranging from cakes, cheesecakes, brioches to more intricate patisserie. She chatted with The Daily Vox about why she is so passionate about baking.
I always dreamed of doing a recipe book. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for ten years. I only started putting together the actual details at the beginning of last year. I wanted a recipe book that would be easy enough for the homebaker but would give them the concept and ideas that you’d find in a patissiere or which a pastry chef would be teaching. I wanted it to be user-friendly but quite sophisticated – incorporating some easy but also a few more complicated recipes.
Growing up I didn’t love baking. I wasn’t one of those kids that would always be in the kitchen helping their mom. I would help with Eid baking – making the biscuits and decorating. When I got married and moved to Nelspruit I started experimenting with fondant cakes. I baked for my sister’s birthday parties. With travelling and trying out new cakes and pastries, I became fascinated with macarons. I initially started obsessing over that and trying to perfect it. That got me hooked onto French pastries. I would basically just experiment and do my own thing. Then I started attending masterclasses overseas to build up my skills. But everything I do know is self-thought. I didn’t go to chef and pastry school.
I love baking. Baking is like joy for me. I especially love sharing everything I make because otherwise I would eat everything myself. I love sharing it with my neighbours and getting feedback from them. It’s a stress reliever, a way to be creative and to let my creativity flow.
I had to develop 85 recipes but I knew what I wanted. I looked for the flavours and inspirations of things that I had when I travelled. I had some of the best desserts and pastries in Japan. I like the flavours like the yuzu and the matcha but I ‘ve had some of the best desserts in Paris as well. That’s like the dessert capital of pastries.
I included the coconut cake which I had in Dubai which I made my own version of. I wanted to include easy cakes and biscuits like things you can make on a Friday morning like Lamingtons. I really wanted a mix. I started with the more sophisticated bakes and then went to the easier bakes.
I would say the book is for anybody that has a love for baking or has a sweet tooth. The photography and food styling in the book is amazing. It really is a lovely book to add to any collection. but I would really say anyone who loves the kitchen will benefit from the book.
But if you’re attempting a new recipe, don’t do it if you’re in a rush. Do it when you have time. Read through the recipe and take it step by step. Don’t feel despondent if it doesn’t come right the first time. I’ve had some many failures. I just keep trying and never ever stop. If something flops I just keep trying until I get it right. Even with the recipes I post on Instagram – I will make it three times before I post it just so it’s perfect.
Don’t feel despondent and quit. Just keep going.
The book is available to purchase all bookstores and online. Faaiza can be found on Instagram sharing her delicious recipes @faaiza_omar