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It's never too late to follow your dreams!

When Khashifah Sidat was 34 years old she decided it was time to pursue the one thing she had always wanted to do and that was have a career in baking. So she signed up with Capsicum's Culinary Studio's Boksburg campus and enrolled for their pastry course.

Five years later and Sidat (39), who lives in Ravenswood, Boksburg, has her own catering business which she runs via her Instagram account @pastry_by_hatice.

In addition to fulfilling orders and cooking for her children, Sidat is also a part-time seamstress, but she took some time out of her busy day to sit down and chat about her journey so far over a cup of tea and a plate of her homemade healthy bran rusks.

When and how did you interest in food and cooking start?

I have been cooking and baking since the age of 12. I always found my happy place in the kitchen, and while all the other children were playing ball or hide and seek I was busy baking for everyone to enjoy after a full day of being outdoors.

What made you choose to study at Capsicum and what was it like?

Convenience really, as Capsicum's Boksburg campus is literally five minutes away from home. I had a lot of fun doing my course at Capscium, made new friends and learnt so many new ideas.

You enrolled when you were 33 years old. What were you doing prior to that?

I was just a stay at home mum with a little side business teaching children to make cupcakes.

Where are you now and what are you doing?

I am currently running a business from home, catering for day to day cravings as well as functions and events. I mostly do pastries and finger foods.

Tell us about your journey from graduation to where you are today

I was so proud of myself the day I graduated. Starting my business from home was hard as all businesses are when starting off, but I'm glad to see how far I have come. I underestimated myself and didn't think I could pull it off, but I have! My kids are so proud of me as well, and I tell them no matter what your age you can accomplish anything if you put your mind to it.

Name five things always in your fridge or pantry

I always have dark chocolate as well as eggs, almonds, cream, vinegar, coconut. I can whip up some exciting sweet treats with those five ingredients.

What would be your last meal?

That's a difficult one but I would have to say a good moist chocolate cake would do it for me.

Is there anything you don't eat?

I am very fussy with food. A of people say they can't believe that I'm a pastry chef because I'm quite skinny, but I don't eat much sweet stuff. Yeah I know ... and I'm a pastry chef! Also, if it doesn't look nice or smell nice I won't attempt to eat it.

If you had to cook dinner for five famous people, who would they be and what would you make them?

Paul Hollywood, Mary Berry, Siba Mtongana, Courtnall Skosan and Semone Skosan. I would cook traditional Indian cuisine; a sweet starter of either a braised vermicelli infused with saffron and cinnamon or a tasty wheat braised with milk and cream with hints of cardamom. Mains would be a chicken birjani with a yoghurt raita or a lamb tikka masala with garlic naan and a side of carrot relish or a lovely masala chicken and saucy vegetables with freshly made roti. For dessert I would serve them my famous pavlova with chantilly cream, topped with fresh berries and tangy berry coulis. Just for extra calories I would also make my well-known chocolate cake with chocolate ganache with a strong spiced tea on the side.

Who is your favourite celebrity chef?

I have many but Siba is top of my list.

Finally, your homemade rusks are absolutely delicious. Would you mind sharing the recipe?

Sure, here you go ...

Khashifah'sHealthy Bran Rusks...

(The perfect tea dippers)


500 g butter

1½ cups brown sugar

3 cups all bran flakes, crushed

2 cups digestive bran

1 kg self raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup pecans, chopped

2 eggs

500ml inkomaas


Pre-heat oven to 180°C.

Place sugar and butter in a pot on a medium stove and stir till sugar is dissolved and butter has melted

Place the all bran flakes, digestive bran, flour, baking powder and pecans into a bowl and

mix well.

Place the inkomaas in a small bowl and beat in the two eggs

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well with a spatula.

Place into a tray lined with baking paper (I use a rusk tray) and press the mix to level out.

Bake for 35 mins or until golden.

Remove from oven and cool. Cut into slices and place back into a 160°C degree oven to dry out until crisp (about 30mins).

Even more delicious when dunked into a cup of tea or coffee!

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