The Oven has baked its last loaf. This blog is no longer being updated.

My cooking videos appear at

I write on food at


My name is Jane, and I am the operator of The Wayward Oven.
    Real-life cooking isn't always as perfect as TV celebrity chefs make it out to be, and the title of this blog comes from the fact that we cannot always control what happens when we cook.
    This blog has been around since October 2009, but was originally called The Thymes. All the content here before Nov 11, 2011 was inherited from that original blog and some of the hyperlinks are still directed there but that's slowly being rectified. I wrote about the reason for the shift in the post, 11.11.11.

The Wayward Oven features
1. Recipes and information about food: The recipes in this space come from various sources (I will say where), and some are my own. I cook ethnic food from around the world but I am also making an effort to master Malaysian dishes (it seems unnecessary since good Malaysian food is easily available). I read a lot of food writing too and what I learn gets featured in this space as well. 
2. I like to weigh it, weigh it: When measurements need to be specific (as in breads), they will be in grams (although with some recipes, I am less pedantic). Otherwise, cup measures are used.
3. Breads: Discovering how the simple ingredients of flour, yeast, salt and water come together in a wonderful loaf is a pleasure.
4. How-tos: I try to have pictures of the cooking process, especially when a complicated technique or an unusual recipe is involved.
5. Meat-free dishes: I am not a vegetarian but my diet is mostly meat-free.
6. Vocabulary: I use British English (primarily), measure in metric (with some exceptions; see #2 above) and heat in Celsius.

My deal with food
Raised in a multi-cultural society like Malaysia's, I was exposed to various kinds of foods from a very young age and loved it all.
    I can't say the same about cooking. I wasn't one of those children who watched their mother or grandmother in the kitchen and developed a love for cooking at a young age. I hated cooking so much that when I was nine, I let my mother's stove-top pot roast burn on purpose so that she wouldn't ask me to watch anything again.
    I don't really remember when I truly became interested in cookery, but I think it developed sometime in the late 90s after I started reading about the art and science of food. Today, not a day passes that I am not pottering about in the kitchen or reading about food. (I have other interests too!)
    I'd like to say that I work as a test kitchen cook, and maybe that will happen one day. To pay the bills  right now, I write for and edit stories in the features section of the largest English-language newspaper in Malaysia.

If you would like to get in touch, please use the comment box after each post or write to me at: jane [dot] ragavan [at] yahoo [dot] com. Tell me what you think about something I have written, or your own food-related stories. I'm nerdy in person, but less socially awkward through the written word. That's why I have this blog.


  1. Hi Jane,

    I like the name of your new blog ..waywardoven, its true one cannot always control what one cook or bake, esp once drooling over a new recipe, tried it & then when it didn't turn out the way it should ^;^

    just starting to read previous post, luv Mango Berry cobbler. happy baking, cooking :D

  2. Thank you msforty5. So nice of you to stop by :-)

  3. Hi, I just found your blog from the Sourdough Surprises. I am from Malaysia too and is based in KL. I love your recipes, especially those that used up the extra starter!

    I just started to bake sourdough bread (and basically everything baked) and one thing I am hoping you can help me with is with regards to ingredients. I am a student and I am trying to find an economical source of specialty flours such as spelt and rye among others. Do you have any suggestions?

    Thanks, Xin Yi.


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