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A lot of home cooks purposely avoid their ovens out of sheer fear. Unlike cooking, baking requires exact measurements, temperatures and timing. If ever I see home ovens being used at home, it would often be used for baked pasta dishes, roasting meats or baking fish. Seldom would you see ovens churning out breads and pastries, unless you come across avid bakers. Like most people, our home oven rarely sees action too. Even as a chef, I would often avoid making desserts, especially baked ones. I’ve never done cakes at home, and on the few occasions I’d muster up the courage, I would opt for simple tarts. But like in cooking, there are convenience products designed for home bakers too. Just like sauce concentrates and stock cubes, there are products available out there to make baking a breeze. One such product is frozen puff pastry. While I do know how to make puff pastry from scratch, it takes too long and our warm, humid weather, combined with my constantly warm hands make working with butter a nightmare. How many of us have air-conditioned kitchens? Very few, I’m sure. Plus, with the availability of the ready-to-use pastry sheets, you won’t need to thaw whole blocks of pastry just to use a bit. Frozen pastry sheets are conveniently rolled out to about an eighth of an inch thick, perfect for multiple uses. You can also stick sheets together if you need longer sheets. For a non-baker like me, this is just a huge convenience. All you need to do is cook the filling and that’s almost it. Just set your ovens at 200°C, and watch the pastry turn golden and rise. Frozen puff pastry allowed me to recreate my favorite English snacks – pasties. These savory pastries, similar to our empanadas are filled with anything from beef and gravy, to cheese and even curry. Also in this issue are our new favorite dining spots around the metro. These and much more in our August issue. Enjoy!

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