There’s nothing more comforting than the aroma of baking in a kitchen. So this week’s episode of Baking Secrets is devoted to heartwarmers, those recipes which pull at our heartstrings. But that doesn’t mean it’s entirely traditional recipes like Mum or Gran used to make! Sure, the great Australian classic – the Lamington – is there but we give it a bit of a shake-up: think lamington trifle and even a cocktail – my lamingtini!

Best of all I visit one Australia’s (and my,) most loved events; The Sydney Royal Easter Show. It’s not all show bags, carnival, produce and animal competitions and my favourite, the wood chop. It’s also home of the toughest and biggest perishable baking competition in the land. Here, cakes and other sweet treats are judged with a meticulous eye for detail – it’s not only taste but appearance that counts and the experienced judges even have measuring tapes on hand!

The competition is open to all ages and encourages everyone from novice bakers to long term entrants to take part. I learn about how scones are scrutinized, cake circumferences are calculated and lopsided lamingtons are lamented! My longtime colleague Brigid Treloar is a judge and was full of hints and tips for judging – like don’t twist the scone cutter or they may slide sideways as they bake! I also meet up with some entrants, one Mark Schembri, the Head Vet at the Show who started baking to meet girls. Well he didn’t but he’s still baking! The others, the delightful Pride family where Mum and 3 kids, aged from 7 upwards all compete.

Then it’s off to the Food Farm with the kids, where we mill grains to make flour before rolling pastry for pies. By contrast I try pie making of a different scale making 84 pies at a time – one bakery stand alone will sell up to 5000 pies a day during the show!

What about my heart-warming recipes? It was so, so hard to choose – there are so many, apart from the lamington. In the end I settled on three level shepherd’s pie, given a kick along with some quick caramelised onions and winter vegetable mash made simply with the KitchenAid hand blender. Having this mixer makes pureeing veggies or soups a snap in the kitchen as well as no messy clean-up of separate bowls, potato ricers or processors – you can do it all in the one pot!

I also used my lovely almond cream KitchenAid hand mixer to whip up a custard which actually bakes in as part of a gorgeous warm spiced apple crumble. Not quite like Mum used to make, but a twist I’m sure you’ll love! I was amazed at how many more kitchen tools KitchenAid have outside of their famous stand mixer, but was pleasantly surprised that everything I used on my baking show had the same sturdy quality and beauty of their stand mixers.

Along the way, I’ll also show you how to distinguish plain flour from self-raising and how to whip up a great gift for a baker, Brownies in a jar! But you’ll have to watch to find out more about how that works!

Happy Baking!

This episode of Lyndey  Milan’s Baking Secrets airs on Monday 21 July at 8.30pm on LifeStyle Food. If you miss the premiere episode, you can view encore episodes on LifeStyle Food on Tuesdays at 12:00pm & 5:00pm, Saturdays at 9:30am and 8:00pm and Sundays at 12:30pm and 6:30pm. For recipes from Baking Secrets, don’t forget to check out LifeStyle Food’s site by clicking here!