Admittedly, I used to attempt cooking only during special occasions or during my rarest of free times. It’s my way of giving my mom her dayoff in the kitchen and let her old-enough kids to do the kitchen chores. But thanks to having a cable tv connection, I was inspired more to amp up my skills and knowledge on food from watching cooking shows. Not only that, it broadened my ideas of dishes from various nations which also inspired me to explore good food when I travel.
One of the best inspirations and motivations came from the most viewed and most raved version of the Masterchef franchise, Masterchef Australia. Not only was I amazed at the meals the home cooks have been working on (take note: homecooks??? freaking serious???), but also on their tenacity and creativity to cook dishes with either limited ingredients or time.
Correlating it to how I cook, I mostly focus on savory dishes and using the stove top. I don’t attempt to use the oven for sole purpose that I’m not that adept in using one. Plus, even if I got a sweet tooth, I don’t make sweets that involve baking…not until I started following the recent Masterchef AU season’s contestants. I started to have the feels of getting out of the fear zone on baking.
A former contestant (and very very soon a cookbook author slash restaurant owner), Jenny Lam, shared a recipe in her IG account on how to make a strawberry tea cake. The only time I used the oven to bake is when I made choco chip cookies. Somehow, the cookies were edible and acceptable from my family and colleagues. But when I saw the instructions (with the oven as the only challenge), I took the courage and accept the challenge.
One Sunday afternoon, I just felt to give that baking mode a go. A few ingredients may have been tweaked (cause c’mon, we need to be resourceful ‘ayt?!), but the instructions were as is.
My sis (who took formal baking classes) told me that baking and/or desserts has to be precise in numbers to achieve the texture and the aesthetics. Well, I guess that’s one of the reasons I prefer cooking savory, really. As they say, it ain’t over till the fat lady sings. No raising of the white flag until the cake is done.
After hours of whisking, mixing and waiting near the oven, the strawberry tea cake popped out…
Ok, it may not be as purrrfect as Jenny’s in Instagram, but thank goodness it was formed and it was edible. I already had ideas why it ended slightly different. Of course, I’m just going to take note of them as lessons learned. Not bad for a novice baker…Not failing to mention getting some motivation from the Masterchef contestant herself (Thank youuuuu Jenny!!! 🤗😘)
It’ll take a while for me to get pretty as picture dishes out of an oven. Don’t be discouraged when the end result doesn’t turn out to be of Masterchef quality yet. We just have to practice and learn from the errors.
May this be the start of whipping up good food and taking risks to tick one in a bucket list…just like what happened to me.
Strawberry Tea Cake via Instagram: Jenny Lam – @jennylamau