To celebrate V day, we’re going to look at lovely heartwarming things all week…starting right here…
Half way through last year I had the honour of working with one of Cape Town’s hardest working creative talents Tina Bester on her delicious book Bake (published by the equally talented Quivertree Publishing team who regularly produce superb award-winning South African recipe and interiors books). When she first started her vintage-inspired café and eatery Queen of Tarts, Tina explained that she (like so many of us) was a ‘no-bake-cook’ – all that changed as she found her feet in her charming and welcoming spot and she’s as well known now for her homemade chicken pie as for her beauteous wedding cakes, light-as-air cupcakes and seriously moreish savoury tarts.
I caught up with Tina and asked her a few questions about what makes her tick:
What baker inspires you and why? I really like James Martin, essentially because he’s not a baker but he does unbelievable desserts. I also love Tessa Kiros, who’s also not a baker – but what a cook!
What’s your cant-live-without-tool? My blow torch, everyone should have one. I use it for créme brulee and to toast marshmallow cupcake toppings.
Your earliest cooking memory? I have earlier eating memories than cooking ones.
What’s your cure for a blue Monday? A 9am movie followed by an 11am movie.
The craziest wedding/celebration cake you’ve ever made? It wasn’t so crazy but it was the biggest I have made, a five-tiered chocolate cake with lots of chocolate shards, lashings of butter icing, fresh strawberries and
gold dust for my 1000 day party. They say and not sure who ‘they’ is, that if you can get through the first 1000 days of business then you will be ok.
What do you have up your sleeve this year? I‘ll be releasing my latest book Comfort in a couple of months – it’s all about the food that makes you feel loved, food that fills your home with lovely smells and recipes that are family favourites to-come. A lot of the recipes are those I’ve grown up with – just given a contemporary twist.
And for those of you who are in the mood to get into the kitchen – here’s the recipe for Tina’s gorgeous chocolate and almond cake with ganache. It’s one of those cakes that can be prettied up with flowers for a baby shower or tea with the girls or given a sexy once-over by plopping juicy red cherries onto the top and serving with a glass of bubbly.
To WIN a copy of Tina’s beautiful book Bake, simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with I WANT THAT BOOK in the subject line. The winner will be announced on February 28th.