Tag Archives: dessert

Donna Hay’s baked lemon pudding

26 Apr

Donna Hay's baked lemon pudding (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

Donna Hay’s baked lemon pudding (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Donna Hay‘s recipes and photographs. She is such an inspiration to me, with her iconic light blue styling, simple cooking methods and modern approach to food in general.

Donna uses whole lemons (yes, skins, pith and all) to create this simple pudding that almost resembles a baked lemon curd. It reminds me very much of the middle layer of a South African lemon meringue pie – tart and tangy, yet thick and indulgent. She suggests that you serve it hot or cold with vanilla ice cream – I agree, the ice cream is a must.

I found that this pudding works best when baked in smaller ramekins, preferably not too deep (I’ve tried baking it as one big pudding and I don’t recommend it). Adjust the baking times according to what you have in your kitchen: deeper and larger ramekins will bake a bit longer.

Ingredients: (recipe from Fast, Fresh, Simple by Donna Hay)

  • 1 medium/large thin skinned lemon
  • 330 g (1 1/3 cup) caster sugar
  • 30 g butter, melted
  • 3 egg yolks (I used XL)
  • 180 ml (3.4 cup) single pouring cream
  • 30 ml cornstarch / corn flour (Maizena)
  • vanilla ice cream, to serve


  1. Pre-heat oven to 169 C (325 F).
  2. Cut the lemon into 8 pieces and remove any seeds. Place in a food processor with the sugar and process until very smooth.
  3. Add the butter, egg yolks, cream and cornstarch and process until smooth.
  4. Pour into 4 greased 1-cup capacity (250 ml) ovenproof ramekins/pie dishes. Bake for 22-24 minutes or until just set.
  5. Serve warm or cold with vanilla ice cream.


This post was originally written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Recipe, food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe

Photography: Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Nicola Pretorius

Hot cross bun pudding

16 Apr

A moist and decadent hot cross bun pudding, perfect for Easter! (photograhy by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

A moist and decadent hot cross bun pudding, perfect for Easter! (photograhy by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

I love the idea and smell of a tray of fragrant hot cross buns – not only for Easter, but anytime of the year. The thing is, they need to be really fresh in order to be enjoyed as they are, maybe with a few lashings of farm butter. Otherwise they can be quite disappointing.

Well, here’s a way of turning your store-bought hot cross buns “the day after” into something a bit more crave-worthy: a bread and butter pudding. In this case, no butter is added, so we’ll just call it a hot cross bun pudding.

I’ve used a combination of cream, milk and eggs to make the custard base, then added some finely grated orange rind, mixed spice and some chopped dark chocolate to the party. The trick is to let the buns soak for 30 minutes to an hour to get really soft, that way you won’t be stuck with dry pieces here and there.

This pudding is fabulous for your Easter celebrations this long weekend, and I promise your family will go back for seconds. No extra custard is needed, but a scoop of vanilla ice cream won’t hurt.


  • 500ml (2 cups) cream
  • 250ml (1 cup) milk
  • 80ml (1/3 cup) caster sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • about 15ml finely grated orange rind
  • 5ml ground mixed spice  (a mixture of ground cinnamon, nutmeg & cloves)
  • 6-8 hot cross buns (I chose ones with added pecans & cranberries)
  • 80-100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped


  1. In a mixing bowl, add cream, milk, sugar, eggs, orange rind and mixed spice. Whisk to combine thoroughly, and to make sure the sugar has melted.
  2. Cut each hot cross bun in half horizontally, then arrange the bottom halves inside a medium size deep baking dish. They should fit snugly, so cut them to size if needed.
  3. Pour the custard mixture over the bun bottoms, so that they are just covered with the mixture, then sprinkle with half of the chopped chocolate. Now arrange the top halves of the buns on top of the bottom layer, pressing down gently, and pour the rest of the custard mixture over the buns until you almost reach the rim of the baking dish (you might still have some custard mixture left, wait for the buns to soak up some of it, then pour over some more). Sprinkle with the rest of the chocolate.
  4. Let the pudding soak for 30-60 minutes, then bake in a pre-heated oven at 160 C for 55-60 minutes. The top should be golden brown, and the middle should still have a slight wobble to it. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for about 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.


This post was originally written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Recipe, food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe

Photography: Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Nicola Pretorius

Chocolate peanut butter sundae with cheat’s roasted banana ice cream

15 Apr

Chocolate peanut butter sundae with extra hazelnuts and a quick roasted banana ice cream (photography  by Daniela Zondagh)

Chocolate peanut butter sundae with extra hazelnuts and a quick roasted banana ice cream (photography by Daniela Zondagh)

Woolworths recently approached me to become involved with their very exciting Flavour Society campaign (#wwflavoursociety), where the flavour of the month is chocolate. Check out their amazing pin board this month on Pinterest.

As a part of this campaign, they asked me to develop a special recipe of my choice using chocolate. Seeing that I’m already a sucker for all things cocoa, there was no problem in finding inspiration. I thought about doing a chocolate cake, or maybe a chocolate terrine. Or what about some chocolate truffles? It had to be something that really tickled my emotional connection with chocolate, and maybe something that brought back some sweet childhood memories – an easy recipe with maximum results and instant drool-worthy craving satisfaction. So I decided to make a chocolate sundae. When last did you have one?

As an adult, I don’t order a chocolate sundae very often these days. But if someone would offer it to me, there’s just no way of saying no. In fact, now that I think of it, it’s probably the best way of ending any dinner – offering your guests something that would make them feel like kids again.

So here’s a recipe for some of the best chocolate peanut butter sundae sauce you’ll ever taste, plus a recipe for making your own cheat’s versions of roasted banana ice cream using real bananas, brown sugar, and a tub of store-bought vanilla ice cream. Add as many extra chopped nuts, fresh banana, pieces of fudge or whipped cream as you want. It’s going to be a messy, happy, affair – I can promise you that. I’ll be the one drinking the sauce from the jug.

Warm chocolate peanut butter sundae sauce - good enought to eat from the pot! (photography by Daniela Zondagh)

Warm chocolate peanut butter sundae sauce – good enought to eat from the pot! (photography by Daniela Zondagh)

Chocolate peanut butter sundae sauce:

Serves 6

  • 200g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) smooth peanut butter
  • 250ml (1 cup) cream
  • 45ml (3 Tbsp) golden syrup
  • 15ml (1 Tbsp) butter
  • a pinch of salt


  1. Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat on the stove top, then stir regularly until the chocolate has melted and the sauce is smooth and glossy. Use a wire whisk right at the end to whisk the mixture vigorously if it still looks grainy – it should be totally smooth.

Cheat’s roasted banana ice-cream:

Serves 6

  • 3 large ripe bananas
  • 15ml (1 Tbsp) demerara sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 2 litres store-bought vanilla ice cream


  1. Pre-heat oven to 220C. Line a baking sheet with baking paper.
  2. Peel the bananas and half them lengthways. Place the bananas on the lined baking tray and sprinkle with the sugar. Bake for 10 minutes at 220C, then remove from the oven and leave to cool completely. In the meantime, take the ice-cream out of the fridge to become soft – about 30 minutes.
  3. When the bananas are cool, transfer the bananas to a blending cup and use a stick blender (or food processor) to blend to a smooth pulp.
  4. Transfer the ice cream to a large mixing bowl and add the banana pulp. Mix thoroughly, then return to the ice-cream container and refreeze for a few hours until it is hard enough to serve with an ice-cream scoop.

For assembling the sundae:

Makes 6 large sundaes

  • 1 batch chocolate peanut butter sundae sauce, warmed
  • 1 batch cheat’s roasted banana ice cream (or your favourite flavour store-bought ice cream)
  • about 250g roasted nuts (I used hazelnuts, but peanuts also work very well)


In a tall glass or dessert bowl, place some nuts at the bottom, then follow with a scoop of ice-cream, more nuts, and more ice cream. Top with hot chocolate sundae sauce and more chopped nuts. Serve immediately. The sauce will get thick and fudgy when left to cool on top of the ice-cream.

Peach galette

28 Feb

Seasonal peach galette with vanilla ice cream (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

Today is the last official day of summer in SA, so I’m going to sneak in one last sunny recipe. When summer fruit is abundant, there’s just no better way to use them than in a rustic French fruit galette (or crostata, like the Italians call it). The pastry is buttery and flaky, the fruit is tender and intense, and the result is just so much more than the sum of its original parts.

To make this galette even tastier, I make a batch of almond paste (marzipan) and coarsely grate this over the prepared pastry base before arranging the fruit. This adds a delicious soft and gooey aspect to the tart, as well as that almond flavour that I love so much. If you don’t like almonds, you can leave this out completely.

The recipe for the pastry comes from one of my food icons, Ina Garten. She had a specialty food store called The Barefoot Contessa for many years (now also the name of her famous American TV show), and baked hundreds of crostatas in her years. I love the texture of this pastry and didn’t want to change a thing about it. Ina’s recipe makes enough for two delicious galettes, so you can freeze the second half for another time if you like.

Pastry: (makes 2 standard sized galettes)

(Recipe for pastry by Ina Garten)

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • ¼ cup caster sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 250 g cold butter, diced
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) ice water

Almond paste: (enough for 2 galettes)

  • 100 g (250 ml) ground almonds
  • 250 ml icing sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon almond essence
  • 1 egg white (large egg)

Filling: (enough for 2 galettes)

  • 1 egg, lightly whisked (for brushing)
  • 6 large cling peaches, peeled and sliced (pits removed) – or use any other seasonal fruit except strawberries and bananas
  • 15-30 ml cinnamon sugar


For the pastry: Place the flour, sugar, salt and butter in a food processor. Pulse until it resembles breadcrumbs, then add the iced water all at once while the motor is running. As soon as the dough starts to come together, remove it from the bowl onto a floured surface. Press into a disk shape, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

For the almond paste: Place all the ingredients together in a food processor. Process until it comes together into a ball (add more icing sugar if your mixture is too sticky). Remove and refrigerate (for at least an hour) in an airtight plastic bowl.

To assemble: Pre-heat oven to 220 C. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to a thickness of about 5 mm. Transfer carefully onto a large baking tray lined with baking paper. Brush the top of the pastry with egg, leaving a 3cm border around the edges. Coarsely grate the almond paste all over the brushed egg pastry surface, then cover with peach slices. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, then bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack before serving with vanilla ice cream (serve hot or at room temperature).


This post was originally written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Recipe, food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe

Photography: Tasha Seccombe

Prop Styling: Nicola Pretorius

Brown sugar & espresso pavlova with figs and nuts

6 Jan

Brown sugar and espresso pavlova with seasonal fruit, nuts & honey (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

It’s no secret that I love to serve pavlova as a festive dessert. I just love the look of the large lavish meringue, crisp on the outside and puffy like a cloud on the inside. It never seems to shake he wow factor either – people are just amazed by it.

The other up-side is that it doesn’t feel like a heavy ending to an extended festive meal. It just melts in your mouth, and along with some tart fresh seasonal fruit (which sometimes steal the show on their own) it’s the perfect dessert.

For an extra special end to a summery dinner, I love to make this brown sugar & espresso pavlova topped with Greek yoghurt & cream and then some figs, berries, toasted nuts and a good drizzle of dark honey. The brown sugar and espresso turns the white meringue into a pale brown pearly beauty, a nice twist on a classic favourite. I use a mixture of Greek yoghurt and cream to top the meringue, and the best seasonal fruit and berries that I can find. Although berries and figs can be quite expensive these days, keep in mind that the rest of this dessert is fairly cheap, so don’t be afraid to spend a little more on the fruit.

Ingredients for meringue:

  • 6 XL egg whites
  • 500 g light brown sugar
  • 5 ml caramel essence (optional)
  • 15 ml instant espresso powder (not ground beans!)
  • 15 ml sherry vinegar
  • 15 ml corn flour (Maizena)


  1. Place the egg whites in a large mixing bowl, then whisk with an electrical whisk until it starts to form soft white peaks. Start adding the sugar  gradually, just a bit at a time, and keep whisking until all of the sugar is incorporated, whisking for another few minutes until you have a thick glossy mixture.
  2. Add the caramel essence, espresso powder, vinegar and corn flour, then whisk for another minute to mix well.
  3. Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking tray, then gently spread it into a circular shape of about 23 cm diametre. Smooth the top slightly – it really doesn’t have to be perfect!
  4. Bake for 15 minutes at 150 C, then turn down the oven to 120 C and bake for a further 1h15min. Turn off the oven and leave to cool completely, preferable overnight (without opening the door).
  5. To assemble, remove the baking paper and place the meringue on a serving platter.
  6. Whisk the cream until it holds shape, then fold in the Greek yoghurt. Spread this mixture gently over the top of the meringue.
  7. Arrange fruit on top, add chopped nuts and drizzle with honey. Slice and serve immediately.


This post was originally written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Recipe, food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe

Photography: Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Nicola Pretorius

Passion fruit and yoghurt pannacotta

8 Oct

Passion fruit & Greek yoghurt pannacotta, topped with fresh passion fruit pulp (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

With the promise of Summer in the air, most of us are abandoning heavier baked puddings for a lighter version of delight. Pannacottas are great for entertaining, because they can be made in advance, and they are usually served as individual portions (I love getting my very own bowl or glass of dessert).

These easy pannacottas are made with Greek yoghurt instead of cream or milk, and I love the extra tang that it provides. Knowing that you’re eating yoghurt and fresh fruit for dessert is such a comfort for the upcoming warmer (lesser clothed) months, because you don’t have to feel guilty for a second!

These little smooth pots look, smell and taste like summer in a jar – pure bliss.

Adjust the sugar content to your taste, and according to the sweetness/tartness of the passion fruit pulp that you are using.


(recipe adapted from Katie Caldesi’s The Italian Cookery Course, available from Poetry Stores)

  • 1 sachet (15 ml / 10 g) powdered gelatine
  • ½ cup cold water
  • ½ cup passion fruit pulp (from about 6 or 7 passion fruits, or use canned passion fruit pulp)
  • 100 g caster sugar (or less if the passion fruit is already very sweet)
  • 750 ml (3 cups) Greek yoghurt


  1. Mix the gelatine powder and cold water, and leave to sponge (about 5-10 minutes).
  2. On the stovetop using a small saucepan, heat the passion fruit & sugar over medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Now add the sponged gelatine and stir until the gelatine has dissolved completely. Don’t let it boil – turn the heat down to very low.
  3. Strain the warm passion fruit mixture through a sieve to remove any seeds. Then add it to the yoghurt and stir well.
  4. Pour the mixture into moulds or glasses – pannacotta don’t need to be turned out, so I like to serve it in beautiful glass jars or glasses. Refrigerate for a few hours or until set, then top with more passion fruit pulp before serving.


This post was especially written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Recipe adaptation, food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe.

Photography: Tasha Seccombe.

Styling: Nicola Pretorius & Tasha Seccombe.

Tanja Kruger’s dark chocolate fondant

19 Aug

An oozing dark chocolate fondant – the perfect ending to a romantic dinner (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

After his trip to Belgium in January, my brother brought me a huge chunk of fabulous Belgian dark chocolate. Fighting my urge to devour it before I would have to share it with anyone else, I decided to look for a fabulous recipe to make the ultimate chocolate fondant.

After searching for a week or two (and not finding the right recipe), I vented my frustration on Twitter. To my surprise, Chef Tanja Kruger from Macaron Restaurant at Majeka House in Stellenbosch responded with a message that she would send me her chocolate fondant recipe via email. What a treat! Chef Tanja is on the culinary Springbok team, and her modern food creations at Majeka House have gained her tremendous respect not only in South Africa, but all over the world. This recipe contains very little flour, and is almost like a chocolate soufflé – so light in texture, yet perfectly rich and deeply satisfying to eat. You can make the mixture ahead of time and refrigerate it for a few hours, then just pop it in a pre-heated oven when you’re ready for dessert. The exact baking time will vary according to the size of your ramekins, anything from 10-15 minutes. Be sure to test one ahead of time to ensure a perfect result.

On the 14th of February this year, I made Tanja’s classic chocolate fondant as the star dessert for my husband on our 9th wedding aniversary dinner. It was a total hit! Thanks Chef Tanja for sharing this recipe with me – it has already become a firm favourite in our household.

PS: Macaron restaurant just revamped their a la carte menu, and will be launching it this month. Be sure to check their twitter account for more details.

Ingredients: (makes 6 medium size fondants)

  • 250 g dark chocolate (Tanja uses 61% Extra from Valrhona)
  • 250 g salted butter, cut into cubes
  • 120 g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 15 ml cake flour


  1. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a heat proof glass bowl over a pot with simmering water. Make sure that the bowl doesn’t touch the water, it should only be the steam that heats the bowl. Stir every now and then. When the mixture is smooth and glossy, remove from the heat and cool slightly.
  2. In the meantime, whisk the caster sugar, eggs and egg yolks together until they are very light and fluffy.
  3. Add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and fold it in until you get a smooth mixture.
  4. Now add the flour and lightly fold it in until just combined.
  5. Pour into well-buttered ramekins, then refrigerate for 2-3 hours before baking.
  6. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200C for 10-12 minutes (up to 15 minutes for bigger ramekins). The centres should still be runny, but the outside should be firm.
  7. Use a small sharp knife to loosen the edges, then carefully turn the fondants out on dessert plates. Serve immediately, with a dollop of thick cream or a scoop of ice cream.


This post was especially written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe.

Photography: Tasha Seccombe.

Styling: Nicola Pretorius & Tasha Seccombe.

No-churn coffee and brandy ice cream

27 May

No-churn coffee and brandy ice cream (photographer: Tasha Seccombe)

Two weeks ago I attended a brandy tasting and blending experience that has changed my view of brandy forever.  I had the privilege of learning more about SA’s top brandies with master distiller Brink Liebenberg at Van Ryn’s in Stellenbosch, as well as blending my own personal brandy with a mixture of 3, 5, 12 and 15 year old brandies.

It was an eye opening experience, to say the least! What most of us know about brandy in South Africa, is that it is a popular spirit that many people enjoy with Coke. Lots of it. But after tasting a range of 8 brandy components that they use to blend the top brandies in the country, my palate was treated to intense flavours of vanilla, pineapple, orange, bitter chocolate and even turkish delight.

Cooking with brandies like these might be considered sacrilege. But with my newfound respect for this amber liquid, I decided to create something that would give the brandy-rookie an accessible introduction to the complex yet rounded flavours of really great brandy. I decided on a coffee and brandy ice cream, based on Nigella’s amazing no-churn recipe from her series “Nigellissima”. Considering that this is a no-churn ice cream, the amazing velvety texture and intense flavour is no give-away to the simplicity of the recipe. This is one of those minimum effort, miximum result desserts – perfect for wowing guests at the end of a dinner party. One of my favourite new recipes of 2013.

Ingredients: (makes about 1 litre)

(based on Nigella’s recipe for no-churn coffee ice cream)

  • 375 ml (1 and a half cup) double cream
  • 1 can of condensed milk
  • 3-4 tablespoons good quality instant espresso powder (not coffee powder)
  • 3-4 tablespoons good quality brandy (I used Van Ryn’s 12 year old brandy)


  1. Add all the ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Whisk (I used an electric whisk) until the mixture is thick and airy, but not too stiff.
  2. Pour into a plastic container and refrigerate immediately for at least 6 hours, but preferably overnight. The mixture will not become too hard because of the alcohol content – irresistably smooth, velvelty and easy to scoop.
  3. Serve straight from the freezer.

Here are some pictures of my brandy blending experience at Van Ryn’s in Stellenbosch. Thank you Nico Gründlingh of Image Solutions Photography for the photos. As part of the experience, we were treated to some amazing treats (fresh oysters, exotic mushrooms salad, etc.) and a fantastic 4 course tartare lunch prepared by Laurent and Cyrillia from Bistrot Bizerca. Feast your eyes!

Thank you very much to the team at Van Ryn’s Visitors Centre for this unforgettable experience.

My Mother’s saucy chocolate pudding

16 Apr

My Mom’s saucy old-school chocolate pudding (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

For many of the festive lunches and dinners we had when I was still a child, my Mother made a decadent yet simple saucy chocolate pudding. This is the old-school kinda chocolate pudding, made with cocoa powder (no real chocolate). This obviously also made the pudding much cheaper, but it was a sure crowd pleaser every time my Mother served it.  Vanilla ice cream completed the picture of “ebony and ivory” delight.

Apart from festive occasions, we also had it every now and then for dessert after a scrumptious Sunday lunch on colder days. My Mother knew how much we loved it, so she always made a double batch of pudding. After dinner, when the family took their regular Sunday afternoon naps, I would sneak into the kitchen. The house would be quiet except for the soft rumbling of the refrigerator. I knew the leftover pudding would be in the cooled oven, so I would grab a spoon and quickly finish half of whate

ver’s left before anyone else could get to it. No guilt – just pure pleasure.

Ingredients for batter: (serves 6)

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 50 g butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

 Ingredients for sauce:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 50 g butter


  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 C. Grease a medium sized oven dish, about 20 x 20 cm big and 5 cm deep.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder together in a mixing bowl.
  3. Add the sugar, milk, melted butter and vanilla, then mix well (use a hand whisk or a wooden spoon). Pour the batter into the greased oven dish.
  4. Add all the ingredients for the sauce into a small saucepan, then bring to the boil over the stove top. Simmer for 5 minutes, then pour over batter – don’t stir. Place the batter and sauce mixture into the oven, then bake for about 25 minutes at 180 C. The batter will cook while the sauce will sink to the bottom to create a thick and saucy base.
  5. Remove from the oven, then let it cool for about 15 minutes before serving warm with vanilla ice cream.


This post was written especially for The Pretty Blog.

Recipe testing, text and food preparation: Ilse van der Merwe from thefoodfox.com

Photographer: Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Tasha Seccombe and Nicola Pretorius

Champagne jellies

2 Jan

Festive champagne jellies with fresh berries

I’m sitting in the lounge at my parent’s house in Keurboomstrand, looking out over the tops of the ancient milkwood trees onto the beach. It’s a magnificent day, and we’ve been outside catching up on sunshine and seawater since 07h00 this morning.

New Year’s Eve at Keurbooms is always a casual affair: large cheese platters, fish pâté and other small bites – no formal dinner. The one thing that we never go without, is bubbly. Not expensive stuff, but sparkly nonetheless.

On the 31st of December 2012, I went the extra mile and made some fancy dessert – light but full of flavour. These jellies were made from sparkling wine (or champagne, if you can afford it!), with fresh berries locked into the beautifully golden clear centres. They were infused with lemon and orange rind, and they can even

be made a day in advance.

This is a beautiful, stylish dessert for grown-ups, and the perfect way to end off another year of hard work, amazing friendships, and fantastic new projects. I simply cannot wait to see what 2013 might bring for all of us. Happy New Year everyone!


  • 750 ml champagne or sparkling wine (dry/brut)
  • 15 ml powdered gelatine
  • 180 g sugar
  • 4 strips lemon zest
  • 4 strips orange zest
  • 250 g mixed fresh berries (choose from blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries etc.)



  1. In a small cup, pour 3 tablespoons of champagne over the gelatine, and leave to sponge for 5 minutes.
  2. In a saucepan, heat remaining champagne over medium heat with sugar and zests, stirring gently to melt sugar. Do not boil.
  3. Remove from heat, then stir in sponged gelatine. Leave to cool for about 45 minutes, then remove zests and pour into wide champagne glasses.
  4. Add berries, then refrigerate for 4-6 hours or overnight.
  5. Serve cold.


This post was especially written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Food & recipes: Ilse van der Merwe.

Photography: Tasha Seccombe.

Styling:  Nicola Pretorius & Tasha Seccombe.