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The secret to good scones and other life learnings from our new fave IG star Owa Sylvia

The secret to good scones and other life learnings from our new fave IG star Owa Sylvia


ICYMI: The crossover, even we at Nolisoli didn’t know was possible, just happened last Thursday on our Instagram TV with our new fave IG star Owa Sylvia and her scones making their Comfort Kitchen debut.

Even before establishing her own IG profile, which is actually a page for her made-to-order small-batch jumpsuits (with a waitlist stretching until next month), Mrs. Sylvia Borja, or Owa Sylvia to her grandson editor Martin Yambao—and by extension to us—has long caught our attention with her witty and lovable personality. 

We were only audiences to the long-running Owa Sylvia show on Martin’s Instagram who once hoped that she’ll get a dedicated page for her hilarious one-liners and domestic know-all. And now here we are.

“I used to make this for my dad for every merienda. Of course, what I make is the best.”

Like any sensible owas out there, Owa Sylvia is more than just a one-trick pony. Sure, she’s made a name for herself in the ’70s for her womenswear creations and is making a comeback with her tailored jumpsuits that everyone seems to be sporting these days (who wouldn’t with their cute and “complementary” colors like butter and blush?). But Owa is also a domestic diva, who knows her way around the kitchen as a true generous grandmother would. 

She knows good food when she sees and tastes one, which is why we are hooked with her food reviews. But just as we suspected (the best we can do in quarantine is speculate), Owa has great recipes of her own. And she shared one of them in our latest Comfort Kitchen episode: scones.

Not going to lie, we were almost sure this collaboration wouldn’t push through. When we reached out to Martin, he made no promises but only assured us that he will make pa-good shot and ask when she’s in a good mood, like a true lola’s boy. After all, Owa is busy managing her seamstresses who are working tirelessly to fulfill jumpsuit orders. 

Lo and behold, Martin sends us the clips, which immediately had us swooning and asking for more like a greedy five-year-old visiting their gran and asking for thirds of their favorite cookie.

The scones were relatively easy to make and require basic ingredients, but what we’re really after is the expertise that only a seasoned homemaker possesses. Sure enough, Owa drops plenty of cooking hacks as well as mantras to live by. 

Martin and Owa Sylvia by BJ Pascual

Here’s a transcript of the conversation Martin and Owa had behind the scenes, with learning that we thought all of us should know by heart.


On believing in one’s work and worth

Martin: “Owa, would you say making scones is easy?”
Owa: “Yeah! I used to make this for my dad for every merienda. Of course, what I make is the best.
Martin: “Claro!”
Owa: “Claro! Who else will admire me except myself?”


On embracing new technology

Owa: “70 years ago, I did not have this [pastry blender]. This is the secret of the whole thing because it incorporates the butter and the flour by hand.”


On plastic and the joy of solo baking

Martin: “Would you say that plastic gloves are a requirement?”
Owa: “Nah. Maybe? But when I am alone and you don’t see it, I use my bare hands!”


On listening intently

Owa: *cuts the scones into shape* “So did you see it now? No repeat ha! I’m not going to repeat.”


On mindful eating

Owa: “You have to eat it hot. Here make your own lemonade. Marco, stop that. Eat!”


Owa Sylvia’s scones recipe


2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, cubed and chilled
2/3 cup milk


  1. In a bowl, mix dry ingredients completely with a whisk
  2. Incorporate really cold butter with a pastry blender until it turns into granules
  3. Add milk and mix until dough forms. Flour is fully incorporated when dough doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl
  4. Gently knead the dough on a mat dusted with flour. Flatten into a thickness of one inch
  5. Cut into shape with a corrugated pastry cutter dusted with flour. Don’t twist
  6. Line up the scones on a lightly greased baking sheet
  7. Brush the tops of the scones with beaten egg mixture for added sheen
  8. Bake in a 200 degree Celsius oven for 12-15 mins
  9. Cut in half and slather with jam. Enjoy!


Header photo courtesy of BJ Pascual

Nolisoli Comfort Kitchen comes out Monday and Thursday nights on our IGTV.⁣

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Writer: CHRISTIAN SAN JOSE © 2020. Hinge Inquirer Publications, Inc.


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