Tag Archives: cream

15-minute ‘Spring greens’ soup

22 Sep

Today marks the officially turn of the seasons from Winter to Spring and for many of us it also marks a celebration of everything green and fresh after a long and cold Winter filled with heavier stews and other rich comfort foods. “Fresh” doesn’t always have to be “raw” –  if you can preserve something of that green freshness in the comfort of a smooth and utterly satisfying soup, I’d say you’re covering best of both worlds.

I wrote this recipe for First Choice Dairy after they asked me to create something for Spring, preferable something light or a side dish, incorporating their cream. Although I don’t associate cream with “light cooking”, this soup is indeed light and bursting with the intense green flavours of peas, broccoli, baby spinach, mint and leeks. I pulsed the vegetables (except the peas) in a food processor to match the size of the peas, then cooked it for a mere 5 minutes in vegetable stock. Immediately transferred to a blender, it is transformed into a smooth, beautifully green soup, adding the cool cream to stop the vegetables from cooking any further or losing their colour. By lack of any other fat or oil in the recipe, the cream provides the necessary luxurious roundness and smooth mouthfeel.


To serve, I love adding as much luxurious goodness and texture as possible: a swirl of cream, a few drops of extra virgin olive oil, some smoked roasted pumpkin seeds, finely sliced sugar snaps, fresh pea shoots and mint leaves, and of course a few thick slices of fresh ciabatta that’s been freshly toasted with olive oil. The smoked pumpkin seeds add fabulous flavour and crunch, but if you’re looking for a meaty kick, you’re welcome to add a handful of crispy fried bacon nuggets.

This soup is wonderful served warm, but just as good served at room temperature. It’s a nutrient-packed, mood-lifting, flavourful celebration of a promising new season – happy Spring Day!


  1. First Choice Real Dairy Cream (long life)  is available in 250ml and 1 liter tetrapacks. It has no preservatives and can be stored safely on the shelf for months. Once opened it should be refrigerated and used within 7 days. The tetrapacks are 100% recyclable.
  2. If you don’t have a food processor, just chop the vegetables and cook them a little longer, adding the peas half way through the process and cooking until everything is just tender. You’ll still need at least a stick blender to blend the soup to a smooth puree.

Ingredients: (serves 4 as a main meal or 6 as a starter)

  • 750 ml (3 cups) vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
  • 200 g leeks, white parts only, sliced into chunks
  • 250 g broccoli, sliced into florets
  • 250 g frozen/fresh peas
  • a generous handful baby spinach
  • a small handful fresh mint leaves, stalks discarded
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) First Choice Cream
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • for serving: (all optional, but you can add all of these and more!)
    • a swirl of First Choice Cream
    • a few drops of extra virgin olive oil
    • a few tablespoons pumpkin seeds, smoked & roasted
    • croutons, or ciabatta brushed with olive oil and toasted
    • a few fresh pea shoots
    • a few mint leaves
    • a few sugar snap peas, finely sliced


Place the stock in a medium size pot over medium heat. While it is heating up, place the leeks and broccoli in a food processor and pulse until it matches the size of peas. Add the pulsed vegetables along with the peas to the stock and bring to a boil. As soon as it boils, turn down the heat and simmer for 4 minutes, then add the spinach and simmer for another minute. Remove from the heat and carefully ladle into a powerful blender. Add the mint and cream and blend to a very smooth puree. Season generously with salt & pepper, then mix well. Serve at once, with a swirl of cream and your choice of toppings and bread (can also be served at room temperature).

This post was created in proud collaboration with First Choice Dairy.

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Chocolate swirl individual pavlovas

1 Jul

Individual chocolate swirl pavlovas topped with whipped cream and fresh berries. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.


This is a recipe that I originally created in 2017, but failed to ever publish here. I’ve created so many different recipes for pavlova on my blog – it never disappoints when ending off a celebratory feast in style. So let’s make room for yet another one: chocolate swirl individual pavlovas with cream and dark berries. It covers all the bases of a great dessert in one go: chocolatey, crunchy, gooey, creamy, tangy, sweet and indulgent.

Now that we live on a berry farm on the outskirts of Stellenbosch, it seems only apt to be celebrating the fruit of our neighbours’ labour. We see their teams working in the berry orchards often, pruning and plowing in the winter mud to get ready for a new season. The recipe was created during January some years ago, so those dark berries might not be locally in season right now (although I’ve seen some amazing berries in some local supermarkets recently). Keep this one up your sleeve for when you find nice big batch of fresh seasonal berries in store. The chocolate meringues are decadently sweet and indulgent, so they definitely need an unsweetened whipped cream or double thick yoghurt topping, and some tart berries. A sifting of dark cocoa powder makes them mysteriously dreamy.

Ingredients: (makes 6)

  • 4 XL egg whites at room temperature
  • 1 cup (250 ml) caster sugar
  • 5 ml white vinegar
  • 10 ml corn flour (Maizena)
  • 80 ml 50-70% dark chocolate, melted
  • 250 ml fresh cream, whipped to soft peaks (or thick double cream plain yoghurt)
  • about 2 cups fresh mulberries and blue berries
  • about 1/4 cup flaked almonds, toasted
  • cocoa powder, for dusting (optional)


  1. Pre-heat oven to 150 C. Line a standard baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk until white and foamy (soft peaks).
  3. Start adding the caster sugar, one tablespoon at a time every 30 seconds or so, whisking on high speed. When the sugar is well combined and the mixture is stiff and glossy, add the vinegar and corn flour and whisk until well mixed.
  4. Turn the mixer off. Add the dark chocolate to the bowl and use a spatula to quickly swirl it into the meringue mixture. Do not mix too much, one or two quick turns will be enough as you want to keep the dark chocolate swirls visible (and it will continue to mix when you spoon it onto your baking tray).
  5. Spoon the mixture onto the prepared baking tray in 6 individual round shapes. Place in the oven and immediately turn the heat down to 120 C. Bake for 50 minutes, then turn the oven off and leave the pavlovas in the oven without opening the door to cool for at least 3 hours (or overnight).
  6. When completely cool, serve dusted with cocoa powder, topped with whipped cream, fresh berries and toasted almonds. Serve at once. (Unassembled meringues can me stored in an air tight container for up to 3 days.)

Individual chocolate swirl pavlovas, before adding your toppings. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.


Note: Your can store the pavlovas (without toppings) in an air tight container for a day. After this, they will still be edible for another day or two, but they will lose some of their crunch and might collapse in the middle. If you want to pack them for a picnic dessert, opt for double cream yoghurt instead of whipped cream, and assemble them on location instead of ahead.

Also check out a few of my other pavlova recipes:

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Nigella’s rum & raisin banana bread

3 Mar

Toasted slices of banana bread, topped with thick cream and berry coulis (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

For one of our monthly food shoots last year at Tasha‘s house in Elgin, she greeted us with the seducing smell of something exotic yet strangely familiar. It was a loaf of freshly baked banana bread with added rum and sultanas. It was so moist and delicious that I had to ask for the recipe.

Tasha found it in Nigella‘s “How to be a Domestic Goddess”, but changed it slightly to include desiccated coconut instead of walnuts, and salted butter instead of unsalted. This is honestly one of the best recipes for banana bread that I have tasted, and I can strongly recommend it. Nigella says on her website that you can add some cocoa powder and chocolate chips, which would make it darker and even more heavenly. But the choice is yours.

I love serving this bread thickly sliced topped with double cream (or clotted cream or mascarpone) and some kind of berry coulis or good quality runny berry jam. It is an excellent choice for breakfast in bed for your lover on Valentines Day or on a romantic weekend, might I add. Decadent, indulgent, utterly delicious.

I celebrated my 10th wedding anniversary on the 14th of February this year. I’m a very, very lucky girl to be married to Schalk. He is kind, honest, an amazing father, and the best friend I could ever wish for. Did I mention he is tall, dark and dangerously handsome? Here’s to many more breakfasts in bed for the two of us!

Freshly baked rum and raisin banana bread (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)


  • 100 g sultanas or raisins (both work very well, but I prefer sultanas)
  • 75 ml dark rum
  • 175 g cake flour
  • 10 ml baking powder
  • 2.5 ml bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 2.5 ml salt
  • 30 g (125 ml) desiccated coconut
  • 125 g salted butter (melted)
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 small ripe bananas (or 3 large, about 300 g mashed banana)
  • 5 ml vanilla extract


  1. An hour before you start baking, place the sultanas/raisins and rum in a small saucepan and heat until it comes to a boil. Remove from the heat immediately, cover with a lid, and leave to soak for an hour.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 170 C.
  3. Sift all the dry ingredients together and add the coconut.
  4. In a separate mixing bowl, beat the melted butter and sugar. Now beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the bananas, sultanas with rum, and vanilla. Don’t worry if it looks like the mixture has “split”.
  5. Add the flour mixture, a third at a time, and stir well after each bit.
  6. Pour into a loaf tine of about 23 x 13 x 7 cm (9 x 5 x 3 inches) and bake in the middle of your oven for 50-60 minutes. The outside should be a nutty brown colour.
  7. Remove from the oven and let it cool in the tin.

Tip: You can also make beautifully soft muffins from the same recipe, just bake them for about 20-25 minutes.



This post was originally 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

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Cheat’s “macarons” with jam and cream

4 Sep

Cheat’s macarons, filled with cream and jam (Photography by Tasha Seccombe)

There is a universal love all over the world for cake with cream and jam; it’s an age-old trend. You’ll find it in the form of swiss rolls, cream cakes, cupcakes, whoopie pies, scones and cookies – it’s just one of those combos that work.

These soft little cookies were made from regular cupcake batter, piped onto a lined baking sheet, then filled with a swirl of jam and cream. And yes, they resemble French macarons. But they are so much easier to make than macarons, with none of the frustration or effort!

You can also fill these treats with caramel or your favourite version of butter icing. They are delicate, yet really simple – perfect for a special teatime treat.

Ingredients for batter:

  • 125 g cake flour
  • 125 g butter (soft)
  • 125 g sugar
  • 5 ml baking powder
  • 2.5 ml baking soda
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 ml vanilla essence
  • 30 ml milk


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Line a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Place all the ingredients except the milk in a food processor, then process for about 15 seconds. Scrape down the sides, then process again. With the motor running, add the milk, then process for another 30 seconds until the mixture becomes very silky and smooth.
  3. Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a relatively small nozzle, then pipe the batter in circles of about 2-3cm in diameter, leaving enough space inbetween for rising.
  4. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 5-8 minutes, depending on the size of your cookies. They should be firm and lightly straw coloured, but not brown.
  5. Remove the cookies from the oven, then carefully transfer them with a spatula to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat this process to use up all the batter.

Ingredients for the jam and cream swirl filling:

  • about 1/2 cup berry jam (I used black currant jam)
  • 250 ml cream
  • icing sugar for dusting


  1. If the jam you are using is quite chunky, use a stick blender and a tall cup to process it to a smooth pulp. This will make it easier to pipe.
  2. Whisk the cream in a separate mixing bowl until just stiff (but not too stiff), then gently stir in the smooth jam – it doesn’t have to be mixed completely.
  3. Transfer the cream and jam mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle of your choice, then pipe the mixture on the inside of the cooled cookies. Use more cookies to close them up like little sandwiches. Dust with icing sugar, then serve.

PS: You can also just use thick cream or cream cheese and chunky jam to spread it onto the cookies with a knife – the 2 separate layers also look quite beautiful!

Cheat’s macarons (photography by Tasha Seccombe)


This post was especially 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 & Tasha Seccombe.

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Spaghetti with roasted cauliflower, blue cheese and walnuts

9 Jul

Spaghetti with a rich sauce of roasted cauliflower, blue cheese and walnuts (photographed by Tasha Seccombe)

This dish was born out of a shameless craving for the taste of parmesan-roasted cauliflower, rich blue cheese and toasted walnuts. Not an everyday combo, I know. It could have also gone in a different direction (maybe a salad with baby spinach leaves, watercress, finely julienned cucumber, and the mentioned ingredients), but this time it became a super decadent pasta.

The trick is to cut the cauliflower into very small florets – about the size of your thumb, or smaller. I sprinkle the pieces with finely grated parmesan cheese, then roast them in a 200 C oven for about 15 minutes until they start to turn golden brown on the edges – it creates an amazing nutty flavour. I then blend half of the roasted florets to a smooth pulp with stock, and mix it with cream and blue cheese. Mix this sauce through the cooked spaghetti, then serve it topped with more roasted cauliflower en toasted walnuts.

I like to eat spaghetti with very rich sauces, because I like the mouth-feel of slurping the strands while some of the creamy sauce remain on my lips. Definitely not a dish for a first date, yet decadent enough for an anniversary dinner!

This pasta dish is best served immediately, as the pasta absorbs quite a lot of the sauce on standing, and thus can become dry. Make sure everyone’s seated before you’re ready to finish the sauce and mix it with the pasta – it makes a huge difference!


  • 250 g cauliflower head
  • about 30 ml olive oil
  • 1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • 250 ml chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
  • 250 ml cream
  • 100 g blue cheese
  • 500 g spaghetti
  • 50 g walnuts, roughly chopped and toasted in a dry pan


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 200 C.
  2. Cut the cauliflower head into small florets (about the size of your thumb or smaller), then sprinkle with parmesan cheese and season lightly with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes or until the cauliflower start to turn golden brown on the edges.
  3. Remove the roasted cauliflower from the oven, then place half of it in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the hot stock, then blend with a stick blender until you get a smooth soup-like consistency. If the mixture is too thick, add more stock or water, then mix again. Set aside.
  4. In a small saucepan, heat the cream to boiling point. Crumble the blue cheese into the hot cream, then turn down the heat to very low and stir until melted. Now add the smooth cauliflower puree and stir well. Set aside.
  5. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, then cook the spaghetti for about 7-8 minutes until al dente. Drain, then coat well with the sauce (I like to toss it in the warm pasta-cooking pot).
  6. Dish up the sauce-coated spaghetti, then top with the remaining roasted florets and some roasted chopped walnuts. Serve immediately.



This post was written especially for The Pretty Blog.

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

Photographer: Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Nicola Pretorius and Tasha Seccombe.

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Buttermilk pancakes with caramelised bananas, cream and salted pistachios

5 Jul

Fresh pancakes with caramelised bananas, cream and pistachios (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

We’ve officially hit the middle of the year, and that means an icy winter ahead of us. The cold weather certainly makes us all long for the smell of warm, comforting winter foods. But there are few things more comforting than the smell of freshly made pancakes.

This is my favourite recipe for deluxe buttermilk pancakes, from Phillippa Cheifitz’s book Lazy Days. If you don’t have buttermilk in your fridge, just use full cream milk mixed with 15 ml lemon juice. But I have to say that the buttermilk just adds a luxuriously soft finish to the pancakes.

There’s nothing wrong with cinnamon sugar and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for a traditional pancake fix (Phillippa likes to spread her pancakes with homemade apricot jam!), but in this case I topped them with caramelized bananas, covered in a brown sugar and butter sauce. To make these even more deadly, I prefer to drizzle them with double thick cream and a sprinkling of roughly chopped salted pistachio nuts. Sweet, salty and crunchy, yet delicately soft and gooey.

I can have this for breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert. So bring on the icy weather – I’ll bring the pancakes!

Ingredients for buttermilk pancakes: (country pancakes, recipe by Phillippa Cheifitz)

Makes about 12 pancakes. Batter will keep in the fridge, covered, for a few days.

  •  6 XL eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 30 ml sugar
  • 375 ml (1  1/2 cups) cake flour, sifted
  • 500 ml buttermilk (or use full cream milk mixed with 15 ml lemon juice)
  • 30 ml melted butter (or canola oil)
  • canola oil for frying


  1. Place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, then whisk/beat together until smooth. Allow to stand for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Place a medium size pan over medium heat, then use a heat proof basting brush to lightly coat with oil.
  3. When the pan is hot enough, add a ladle full of batter to the pan, swirling it around to cover the bottom of the pan. Cook for about 1-2 minutes until golden brown, then flip over using a spatula to brown the other side. Note: If your batter looks too thick, add some cold water and mix well before adding another ladle to the pan.
  4. Stack the pancakes on top of each other, then make the topping.

Ingredients for caramelised banana topping: (enough for about 4 people)

  • 60 g (about 1/4 cup) butter
  • 2 x ripe, firm bananas, sliced into chunks diagonally
  • 1/4 cup soft brown sugar
  • 30 ml cream
  • double thick cream for serving (or whipped cream, or clotted cream, or mascarpone)
  • about 50 g salted pistachios, roughly chopped


  1. Over medium-high heat, melt the butter in a medium sized pan, then add the banana slices. Fry for about 1 minute, turning once.
  2. Remove the bananas from the pan,  then add the brown sugar and cream to the remaining butter in the pan. Stir until the sugar has melted and the sauce is thick (not too dark) – add a touch more cream or butter if necessary. Remove from the heat as soon as it looks ready, and return the bananas to the pan. Swirl gently.

To assemble:

  1. Fold each pancake into quarters and arrange on a plate (about 2 per person).
  2. Top with the caramelized bananas and sauce, then drizzle with thick cream and sprinkle with some chopped pistachios. Serve at once.


This post was written especially for The Pretty Blog.

Text and food preparation: Ilse van der Merwe from thefoodfox.com

Photographer: Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Nicola Pretorius and Tasha Seccombe.


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Angel cake with white chocolate ganache and banana cream

19 Feb

Angel cake with white chocolate ganache and banana cream filling (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

This Valentines Day will mark the 1 year anniversary of working with the fabulous food team from The Pretty Blog, Nicola and Tasha. I wrote my first post for TPB exactly one year ago for a dark chocolate tart with fresh berries, and we felt so exhilarated with the results of our very first picture!

But more importantly, this year on the 14th of February I’ll also be celebrating my 9th wedding anniversary. So many things great things have happened in my life over the past year, and I am so very thankful for the overwhelming support and love from my family! One year ago, I was still struggling to get to grips with my choice to make a complete career change from the music management industry to the food industry as a writer and recipe developer. Things weren’t always easy and I (we) had to make a lot of sacrifices. One year later, I am so excited about where I’m heading, with extremely exciting projects lined up for 2013 and 2014. But the biggest thing that I have learnt over the past year, is how important my husband and my little daughter are to me, and how very lucky I am to have them both in my life.

If there was ever an angel, it is my husband, Schalk. We have been together for 13 years, and he has been my absolute rock. These days it is very rare to find a love that is so complete and so full of joy, friendship and adventure. I love him even more today than the day we got married.

Ingredients for angel cake:

  • 175 g cake flour
  • 15 ml baking powder
  • 5 ml cream of tartar
  • 2 ml salt
  • 45 g cornflour
  • 12 XL egg whites
  • 315 g caster sugar
  • 2 ml almond essence

Ingredients for white chocolate ganache:

  • 160 g white chocolate (I used 2 x 80g slabs of Nestlé Milky Bar)
  • 150 ml fresh cream

Ingredients for banana cream filling:

  •  250 ml cream
  • 15 ml caster sugar
  • 5 ml vanilla essence (or 2 ml vanilla extract)
  • 1 banana, mashed

Method for angel cake:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 C.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift flour, baking powder, cream of tartar, salt and cornflour.
  3. In another large mixing bowl, beat/whisk egg whites until foamy, then gradually add the caster sugar while whisking continuously, until you reach medium peak stage (between soft peaks and stiff peaks). Add the almond essence and whisk for a few seconds.
  4. Add dry ingredients to egg whites, then fold in gently with a metal spoon until the mixture is smooth. Pour into an ungreased 24 cm loose bottomed angel cake pan or ring pan (I used a normal loose bottomed cake pan and placed a drinking glass in the middle to create the distinctive angel cake hole).
  5. Bake for 35-40 minutes until done, then remove from the oven and leave in the pan to cool for 5-10 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack. Cool completely.

Method for white chocolate ganache:

  1. Break chocolate into small blocks into a glass mixing bowl.
  2. On the stove top in a small sauce pan, bring the cream to a boil, then quickly remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Leave to melt for 2-3 minutes, then stir gently until the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool to the desired consistency while filling the cake with the banana cream (I love a slightly more spreadable ganache, but you can also drizzle it over the cake white it is still a bit warm and slightly runny).

Method for banana cream:

  1. In a mixing bowl, add the cream, sugar and vanilla. Whip the mixture with a whisk or electric beaters, until it is stiff enough to hold shape (don’t over-beat!)
  2. Add the mashed banana, then fold it into the cream. Use a sharp knife to cut the cake horizontally in 2 layers, then fill generously with the banana cream and carefully put the top layer back in place. Then spread/drizzle the top with the white chocolate ganache.

PS: I used Heilie Pienaar’s recipe for angel cake from her new book “The Ultimate Snowflake Collection”. She used a passion fruit glaze icing for her cake, but I prefer to top mine with a decadent white chocolate ganache and fill it with a banana cream filling.

PPS: This cake is best the next day, but the banana cream have a tendency to turn dark after 24 hours. My advice would be to make the cake ahead (the previous day), store it in an airtight container, then fill and ice the cake a few hours before serving.


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

Food & recipe: Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Photography: Tasha Seccombe.

Styling: Nicola Pretorius and Tasha Seccombe.

Plate: Poetry

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Cheat’s mango ice cream

22 Nov

Cheat’s mango ice-cream (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

I grew up in a house where vanilla ice cream was freely available – we had it for dessert almost every single day, with my Mom’s homemade chocolate sauce. It was great, but I got so used to ice cream that I never really thought of it as something special. Until I got older and discovered proper Italian ice cream from artisan parlours like Lecce Il Gelato and Cold Gold Ice Cream.

Today I’ve turned into a complete ice cream snob. I only eat the good stuff. OK, I still appreciate the charm of a cheap, old fashioned soft serve at the beach on a hot summers day, but I’ll drive the extra mile to get the “extra dark chocolate” flavour from Lecce Il Gelato. Yum.

That said, I haven’t really tried my hand at making ice cream before, seeing that it’s an artform in its own right. I also don’t have the right tools, because ice cream churners can be quite expensive. So I couldn’t help but feel a bit confused when I saw Donna Hay make her “cheat’s ice cream” on tv as part of her “Fast, Fresh, Simple” series. She simply used frozen fruit and cream, and whipped up a perfectly textured soft serve from scratch in a minute. I had to try it.

I used freshly frozen mango pieces and fresh cream, and sweetened it with a bit of extra caster sugar. It worked like a dream, and it couldn’t be easier. All you need is a basic food processor and a normal freezer (deep freeze) – no churning, no time, no tricks.

This is my version of cheat’s mango ice cream, based on Donna’s recipe. Donna also use fresh banana in her recipe, but I like the basic mango flavour all on its own. After all, the mango is the King of the fruit family, in my books.


  • 400 g mango flesh, sliced and completely frozen
  • 250 ml fresh cream
  • 50 g caster sugar (optional, adjust to taste)


In the bowl of a food processor, add the frozen fruit, cream and sugar. Process until smooth – it takes about 30 seconds to 1 minute. The texture should be a smooth “soft serve” consistency, and can be eaten straight away.  But if you prefer a harder ice cream, pour ice cream into a plastic container and freeze for another 3-4 hours or overnight.


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

Food & recipe: Ilse van der Merwe.

Photography: Tasha Seccombe.

Styling: Tasha Seccombe & Nicola Pretorius

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Jane-Anne’s frozen lemon cream dessert

22 Oct

Frozen lemon cream dessert with seasonal fruit and amaretti biscuits

My dear friend and fellow blogger Jane-Anne Hobbs recently published a cookbook called “Scrumptious: Food for Family and Friends“. Jane-Anne is a seasoned food writer and recipe developer, and loves to entertain at her breathtaking home in Hout Bay.

If you haven’t seen this beautiful book, do yourself a favour and get your hands on it. It is a joy to see such magnificent work come from someone in our local food community. Jane-Anne is not a “celebrity chef”, she’s a self-trained intelligent cook with a born understanding of flavours. Her recipes are honest and they really work for entertaining and wowing a crowd. I have tried quite a few of the recipes in her new book, and they have all been winners. One of my absolute favourite is “Mike’s Youvetsi” – a simple Greek lamb dish made with fresh tomatoes and orzo (flat, rice-shaped pasta) – absolutely packed with flavour.

A great choice for a Summer dessert is Jane-Anne’s Frozen Lemon Cream with Summer Berries. This dessert is based on the basic recipe for a South African cottage cheese fridge tart, with added seasonal fruit (fresh or frozen). It is so beautiful to look at, and so easy to make. The best thing about it is that you can make it a few days ahead of your big party, and remove it from the deep freeze right before serving – like ice cream. No stress, no fuss, just delicious homemade creamy lemon delight. Perfect for a really hot, South African summer’s day.

Ingredients: (serves 8)

  •  2 x 385 g tins condensed milk
  • finely grated zest and juice of 3 medium lemons (or 2 large)
  • 500 ml fresh cream
  • 350 g mixed frozen berries (I also added some fresh seasonal fruit, like grapes and oranges)
  • 12 Italian Amaretti biscuits, roughly crumbled

For the topping:

  • 1 cup frozen berries (or a mixture of fresh and frozen, or fresh seasonal fruit of your choice)
  • icing sugar, for dusting


  1. Add condensed milk, lemon rind and lemon juice in a large bowl. With an electric beater, beat on low speed for 1 minute.
  2. In a separate bowl, whip the cream until stiff, then fold the cream into the lemon mixture. Set the mixture aside to thicken for 10 minutes.
  3. Partially thaw the frozen berries for 15 minutes in a colander. In the meantime, line a large loaf pan with cling wrap, pressing it well into the corners (wet the pan first to make the clingfilm stick).
  4. Spread 1/3 of the cream mixture on the bottom of the pan, then top with half of the berries. Now sprinkle with half of the biscuits, then top with another 1/3 of the cream mixture.
  5. Top with other half of berries, then with remaining biscuits, and then top with the last 1/3 of the cream mixture. Smooth top with a spatula then cover the top with a layer of cling wrap. Freeze for 6-7 hours, or preferably overnight.
  6. When ready to serve, peel off the top layer of clingwrap, then invert the pan on a chilled serving platter to unmould. Peel off the rest of the clingfilm, then top with the remaining berries and/or seasonal fruit. Dust with icing sugar, then take to the table immediately to slice and serve. Serve with berry coulis, if preferred.



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

Food: Ilse van der Merwe.

Recipe: From the book “Scrumptious: Food for Family & Friends” by Jane-Anne Hobbs

Photography: Tasha Seccombe.

Styling: Tasha Seccombe & Nicola Pretorius

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Pavlova with pears, hazelnuts, orange and dark chocolate

17 Sep

I’m ready to shake off the last of Winter’s icy weather with a cross-over dessert: a pavlova with pears, hazelnuts, orange rind and a decadent dark chocolate sauce. This combination hints at some of Winter’s favourite food elements, but takes it to a completely new level with a light and fluffy meringue base that is usually associated with summer berries and al fresco dining.

The wonderful thing about this dessert is that you can make it any time of year – all the ingredients are usually handy on your pantry shelf! I’ve served it at the height of Summer as a Christmas lunch dessert, and also in the middle of Winter as a decadent ending to a hearty lamb potjie dinner. It’s a real crowd pleaser and a great alternative to the usual!

Tip: Bake the pavlova base the previous night, just before you go to bed. Then let it cool overnight in the oven without opening the door. Remove the next day and keep in an airtight container until just after your main meal (or cover carefully with a plastic bag). Top with cream and other toppings, then serve  immediately with extra sauce on the side.


  • 6 x extra large egg whites
  • 500 g castor sugar (extra fine sugar)
  • 3 teaspoons white vinegar or lemon juice
  • 3 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence (or scraped seeds of a vanilla pod)
  • 250 ml cream, softly whipped
  • 1 can of pears in syrup, sliced into quarters (or poached pears in syrup)
  • 100 g dark chocolate
  • 100 g hazelnuts, toasted in a dry pan and cooled
  • rind of half an orange, finely grated or scraped in thin strands
  • Method:
    1. Pre-heat oven to 150 degrees Celsius.
    2. Whisk egg whites in a big, clean bowl (with an electric whisk) until stiff peaks form.
    3. Gradually add castor sugar to egg whites, small amounts at a time, untill fully incorporated and the mixture is stiff and glossy.
    4. Add vinegar, cornstarch and vanilla and whisk until thoroughly mixed.
    5. On a big oven pan lined with baking paper, shape pavlova mixture into a round shape and flatten the top, very much like a cake (draw a circle on your baking paper if necessary). The mixture will rise a bit to the sides, so leave enough space.
    6. Bake in the oven at 150 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes, then turn down heat to 120 degrees Celsius and bake for another hour.
    7. Turn oven off, and leave to cool overnight without opening the oven door.
    8. Remove pavlova from the oven the next morning, and keep in an airtight container until ready to use.
    9. Remove baking paper from bottom of pavlova and carefully put it on a serving dish (it will have a few cracks, but it is supposed to look like that!)
    10. Strain pears from syrup, and reserve 100 ml of syrup. Heat reserved syrup to boiling point, remove from heat, then pour over chocolate (broken into chunks) in another bowl. Leave to melt, then stir until smooth and cooled.
    11. Place pavlova on a serving dish. Cover with freshly whipped cream and arrange pears and hazelnuts on top. Sprinkle with orange rind, then drizzle with some chocolate sauce. Slice and serve immediately, with the rest of the sauce on the side.


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

Food: Ilse van der Merwe.

Photography: Tasha Seccombe.

Styling: Tasha Seccombe & Nicola Pretorius


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