Tag Archives: tart

Asparagus tart

23 Apr

Asparagus tart with sour cream and cheddar cheese (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Asparagus is such a strange and wonderful vegetable, but I don’t eat it too often. I like to keep it for special occasions, where I would wrap it in bacon and cook it on the grill, or blanch it for 30 seconds in simmering water and then drizzle it with buttery hollandaise sauce. It’s my “treat” vegetable, if you know what I mean.

My other go-to asparagus meal is this rich asparagus tart, made with sour cream and mature cheddar cheese. It is an absolute treat for tea time, but also works well for lunch or dinner if you serve it with a green salad. It works best with fresh green asparagus, not tinned. Arrange it in any pattern you want, it makes such a beautiful picture!

Ingredients for pastry:

  • 150 g cake flour
  • 150 g butter, diced
  • 20 g (125 ml) digestive bran
  • 250 ml (100 g) grated mature cheddar cheese

Ingredients for filling:

  • 1 bunch fresh green asparagus  (about 200-300 g)
  • 30 ml butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 250 ml (100 g)  grated mature cheddar cheese
  • 250 ml sour cream
  • 2 XL eggs
  • salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. For the pastry: place the flour and butter in a food processor. Process until it resembles fine breadcrumbs, then add the bran and the cheddar. Process until it comes together in a ball, then remove from the bowl and press with clean hands into a greased 23 cm pie dish. The pastry is very soft, and it cannot be rolled out. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 180 C.
  3. Cut off the hard bottoms of the asparagus (if necessary), then blanch them in slowly simmering water for 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and immerse in ice water to stop it from cooking. Set aside.
  4. In a frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter, then fry the onions and thyme (remove the stalks of the thyme) until the onions are completely soft and translucent. Transfer it to the base of the tart, then distribute evenly.
  5. Now arrange the blanched asparagus on top of the onions in your desired pattern. Top evenly with the cheddar.
  6. In a small mixing bowl, mix the sour cream with the eggs and season well with salt and pepper. Pour all over the asparagus, then bake the tart in the oven at 180 C for 45-60 minutes, depending on how deep your pie dish is, until set and golden brown.  Serve warm.


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: Tasha Seccombe and Nicola Pretorius


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Lemon meringue pie

12 Jun

Classic lemon meringue pie (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Being a serious sweet tooth, I love classic lemon meringue pie. I’ve tasted many versions of it, and after many baking attempts at home I’ve now perfected the recipe for the way I like my lemon meringue. It should be tangy enough to get your tongue in a twist, but just sweet enough to make you go back for more. And the most important part is the fluffy meringue on top – light and fluffy, pale golden brown, showing off in all directions with beautiful creamy twirls.

For the base and the filling, I follow the recipe from “Huisgenoot Top 500 Wenresepte”. Then I turn down the heat a bit and add extra egg whites with sugar, vanilla and lemon juice to create my favourite meringue topping.

This is really a delicious pie! Use a large knife dipped in  recently boiled water to cut it – it makes all the difference.

Ingredients for base:

  • 1 packet (200 g) Tennis biscuits
  • 100 g butter, melted

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 1 can (385 g) condensed milk
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) lemon juice
  • 2 egg yolks

Ingredients for the meringue topping:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 150 ml sugar
  • 5 ml vanilla essence
  • 5 ml lemon juice


  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 C.
  2. In a food processor, process the Tennis biscuits to fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and mix well. Firmly press crumb mixture into a medium-size tart pan or loose bottomed tart tin, covering the base and sides evenly.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk condensed milk while adding lemon juice a bit at a time. Whisk egg yolks in a separate bowl, then add to condensed milk mixture and mix well. Pour mixture into tart pan, then bake for 10 minutes.
  4. While filling is baking, use a clean dry bowl to whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks (make sure your whisk is also clean and dry). Add sugar a little bit at a time, whisking continuously until the mixture is thick and glossy. Add vanilla and lemon juice and fold into meringue mixture.
  5. Remove tart pan from oven after baking for 10 minutes. Turn down heat to 150 C. Immediately top with meringue mixture, working carefully. Create beautiful swirls on top with a palette knife. Return to oven to 20-30 minutes, or until meringue is a pale golden brown colour. Remove from oven and cool completely, then slice and serve!


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

Food: Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Photography: Tasha Seccombe.

Styling: Nicola Pretorius, Tasha Seccombe & Ilse van der Merwe.

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Chocolate tart with fresh berries

13 Feb

Chocolate tart with fresh berries (picture by Tasha Seccombe)

I got married 8 years ago on the 14th of February 2004 – it was the first Saturday in February that suited everyone. Although we’d been dating for 4 years prior, it came as a surprise to most of our Rock ‘n Roll industry friends that we had decided to actually tie the knot. In a church. A real wedding, with a white wedding dress! (OK, ivory white…)

My parents were extremely excited about our decision to get married. Now their daughter wouldn’t “live in sin” with her boyfriend anymore, and my Mom could plan the wedding to her heart’s content. She was an amazing wedding planner, presenting me with options about the flowers, the catering, the décor, and all I had to do was choose the best option. We had a lot of help from friends to make this the most affordable wedding ever: I made my own dress (yes, I can sew), my best friend volunteered to do my make-up (www.marnimakeup.co.za), our sound engineer friend lent us his PA system for the music and speeches, another photographer friend took fantastic pictures for free, my Dad’s friend down the road lent us his beautiful car for the bridal transport – the list goes on. We chose not to have an elaborate wedding cake, but rather had a fantastic dessert buffet which everyone loved.

We danced to ACDC’s Thunderstruck untill after 04h00, my wedding dress black from all the spillage on the floor. We went home, shoeless, abundantly opening all the presents without even making notes of whom to thank for what. We fell asleep just before the break of dawn, with smiles on our faces, thankful for the best day of our lives.

Since then, the 14th of February doesn’t hold a corny air of kitsch Valentines teddies and cheap (yet expensive) red roses. It is our special day. A reminder of the choice that we made to share our lives forever. And we choose to celebrate it each year with great food and lots of great wine – no gifts. I am a lucky woman, being married to an angel of a man. The love of my life.

If you would like to spoil your love this Valentines Day with a decadent treat, be sure to make this immaculate chocolate tart. It is a very simple recipe, but gets raving reviews every time.


  • 200 g packet of Baker’s Nutti Crust cookies (caramel oats biscuits)
  • 60 g butter, melted
  • 225 g dark chocolate (use the best quality you can afford)
  • 250 ml (1 cup) cream
  • zest of half an orange, peeled into strips (not grated)
  • about 250-500 g berries of your choice (eg. raspberries, blackberries)


  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. In a food processor, process the cookies to fine crumbs. Add the butter and process untill mixed.
  3. Transfer crumbs to a fluted tart tin with removable base. Using a cup with a flat bottom (I use a measuring cup), flatten the crumbs on the bottom and onto the sides. Bake for 10-15 minutes untill just slightly darker in colour. Set aside to cool.
  4. Break the chocolate into blocks in a medium size glass bowl.
  5. In a small saucepan, add the cream and orange rind. Heat untill boiling point, remove from heat at once, quickly remove orange rind with a slotted spoon, then pour immediately over the chocolate. Stir with a spatula untill fully melted, smooth and glossy.
  6. Pour warm chocolate mixture into baked base, then chill in the fridge for 3 hours or overnight.
  7. Remove from fridge, carefully remove the fluted side of the tin, top with berries, and sprinkle with a little sifted icing sugar if necessary. Serve cold.


This post was written especially for The Pretty Blog:

Text, recipe, testing and preparation: Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox

Photographed by Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Nicola Pretorius, Ilse vand der Merwe and Tasha Seccombe

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Summer sunshine fridge tart

14 Mar

My Mother makes a cottage cheese fridge tart that I absolutely cannot resist. She makes it for all special occasions, and always have it ready in the fridge when we visit them in Keurboomstrand.

I recently copied her handwritten recipe into my recipe book. It is fool-proof, really easy, and contains all the good stuff for a great fridge tart: smooth cottage cheese, condensed milk, lemon juice and cream. The special touch is the topping, which is a golden orange & passion fruit syrup which gets thickened with custard powder, and totally looks like a summery sunshine celebration! […]

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