Monday, February 27, 2012

When I was a Baker

During my fall break (what would be an early spring break in the Northern hemisphere I guess) I had a brief stint baking at Closer Cafe in Muizenberg.

Closer is an interesting little din, it doesn't quite know whether it wants to be a coffee shop or a gourmet vegan restaurant. My friend Nicole runs it, and has aspirations to three-star cuisine - but she doesn't own it, and thus is relegated to frying burgers a lot of the time. Those are pretty tasty though, and while I was there we made many a delicious salad as well.

The week started on Monday with a Raspberry-Apple-Crumbcake, and lots of cookies. Gingerbread cut-outs, made into black-and-white icebox cookies crusted with brown sugar and some chocolate ginger hearts for Valentine's day.

Tuesday saw me baking lots of marbled banana bread muffins. I particularly like the banana slice as a decoration on top :)

Wednesday I took an easy day and sat by the window, cutting out leftover cookie dough into all sorts of fun shapes.

Thursday, we made some Berry Cream Tartlets, inspired by the post-punk kitchen. Cashews were soaked, berries and coconut pureed, delicate chocolate-olive oil crusts fabricated - then we realized there was no agar-agar to be found anywhere in the village. (Actually, we realized that on Tuesday, and that's why these babies didn't happen for Valentine's day, as they should have.) I took the daring step to do a corn-starch-only cream cheese substitute, and it came out heavenly.

On Friday, the Cafe was sold. Yes. Because it hasn't been turning a profit, and the previous owners were too busy with the rest of their lives, they sold it to the South African Vegan Society.
Around mid-afternoon, we were serving delicious home-made flour tortillas stuffed with an old favorite of mine, my friend Lissa's ginger black beans, mango salsa and brown rice.

Some American tourists were swooning over this creation of mine, and I was congratulating myself on my first-time-ever tortilla success, as the SAVS's head popped in. A tall, skinny, long-haired anarcho-vegan type with the hilarious name of Aragorn, he was easily convinced to try one of my "Pink Post-Punk Passion" tartlets. After he finished every last crumb of it, he asked me my number and whether I'd be able to bake for Closer on occasion in the future.

Success, I say.

The Baker
The Chef

(All the photos were taken by poet-photographer Arlie, who was experimenting with some borrowed, slightly out-of-date, slightly broken camera at the time - thanks, lady!)


  1. Die Speisen sehen delikat aus, Maita!!! Ich bin stolz auf dich und denke oft an dich. Ela

  2. Those tarts were epic - and i'm not just talking about us.