Q & A Tessa Kiros

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Tessa Kiros, cookery writer and world traveller

The cookbook that has most influenced your cooking?

The Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook – I think from 1970. It was the one I came across in our home when I was young. I remember always looking through this book and thinking how glamorous the pictures were and wanting to make them

The food of love… What would you cook to impress a potential date?

I would serve a kir royale. And moules frites – in a less classic way perhaps, but I like that it takes time to eat and I find it wonderful for this occasion

Your top five dinner guests, dead or alive?

I would love my Cypriot grandfather to be there so I could concentrate better now on the things he was teaching me when I was younger and thought he would always be around. Also my great Finnish grandmother Soja so she could show me all of her specialities. I would love to be at the table with them together and for them to meet each other! Then – The fairy Godmother from Cinderella. My family. And Bette Midler – because she is so lovely

Fast food –  your top snack tip?

The new one I learned in Vietnam while working on Provence to Pondicherry – and I have actually put it in the book. Lightly warmed baguette dipped in condensed milk

Most memorable meal in film/literature/painting?

Babette’s Feast. So inspiring and generous in spirit and a wonderful display of how people react with food

Your worst kitchen disaster?

The time when we had prepared a caramel tart with cream on top. When I was going to get it from the fridge to serve…I don’t know what happened – but my hand made a sudden movement as it was about to fall- and the tart got STUCK to the fridge door! I turned around to see my dinner guests watching me. It was inexplicable how that happened but really funny and so worth the laugh we had

What do you eat when you get home from the pub [or similar]?

Salt and vinegar chips

What would you like your final meal to be?

A proper wood-fire grilled hamburger in bun with cheese and a little barbecue sauce. Home-made chips. Ice cream sundae

What is your secret talent [in or out of the kitchen]?

I am good with colours and combinations. And my daughters say I can even chat up a door. I can hang around with almost anyone!

What did you eat for breakfast today?

What I love. A fresh fruit press from my juicer of pineapple, ginger, turmeric, beetroot, celery, apple & orange. Then cappuccino and croissant

Most over-rated/ under-rated food/seasoning/gadget

The most over-rated ingredient I find is saffron. And the most underrated – parsley

Your inheritance recipes – the one you inherited [and from whom] and the one you’d like to pass on?

Cinnamon and cardamom buns from my Finnish mother. We make them all the time and I’ve have taught my children well

Provence to Pondicherry: Recipes from France and Faraway, Quadrille.co.uk £25; winner of the Edward Stanton Travel Writing Award 2017