I love baking. Well, I love cooking of all kinds, but baking is special. I love the precision required, following a recipe exactly to make sure of the perfect result. And when those beautiful cakes and tarts, breads and scones, come out of the oven looking as perfect as you hoped, what a sense of satisfaction.

I love being organised. I’m definitely a “place for everything and everything in it’s place” kind of gal. It can be so frustrating when you can’t find what you need, especially in the kitchen. Moving quickly to get everything ready, you can’t waste time looking for that garlic press, a pan, a platter, whatever you need must be easily at hand.

And counter space, okay let’s talk benchtops. One of my kitchen design signatures is loads and loads of functional work space. I like long, uninterrupted spans of countertop, with everything at hand, room to spread out and room to really WORK.

This year, for the first time in almost 4 years, I finally had that beautiful triumvirate working for me: baking, organisation and countertops. Add to that great appliances, great tunes and Christmas baking day was a slice of heaven.

All set up for making my mini banana cakes. I make them in a muffin tin (you will see it to the left of the stove, all buttered and ready to go), but they definitely eat like little cakes, not like muffins. Very light, very moist. And this year I added toasted walnuts and chocolate chips. To the right of the stove is the cooling rack where they will go as they come out of my big, beautiful oven.

It was a real treat having all that counter space available when I was really into the thick of it (see more kitchen photos here). The girls got mini muffins this year, along with the most yummy chocolate fudge. The grown ups get banana bread. I made three this year, so it was wonderful having enough space to have everything going at once!