Tag Archives: seasonal fruit

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!

Ingredients:

  • 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.)

 

Method:

  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.

Credits:

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.

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

Method:

  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.

 

Credits:

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

Poached summer fruit with spiced yoghurt

28 Feb

Poached nectarines, pears and strawberries with cardamom and cinnamon spiced yoghurt (picture by Tasha Seccombe)

While the days are getting slightly shorter as we move towards the end of February in the Cape, the bountiful summer fruit harvests are almost beyond their peak. I love buying large lugs of locally grown fruit from Blue Jay Farm Stall around the corner from where I live. For a small household, it is almost impossible to eat all the fruit while it is still at it’s freshest, so it is time to make one of my ultimate breakfast treats: poached summer fruit with spiced yoghurt.

It is amazing how the colour of fruit change when you poach them – some intensify, like peaches, while others become a softer shade of pink, like strawberries. I just adore the texture of poached fruit when they are truly poached to perfection: not mushy, but soft and evenly delicate. I serve them for a real breakfast treat with double-cream greek yoghurt, lightly spiced with cardamom, cinnamon and honey. You can also serve them for dessert, with spiced mascarpone or thick cream.

It is always best to use fresh vanilla pods in your poaching liquid, but if you – like me – don’t always have access to the beautiful yet expensive real vanilla pods, just use a teaspoon or 2 of vanilla essence.

There is no need to skin your fruit – the skins are really good for you, and it means a lot less effort!

Ingredients for poached fruit:

600 ml water

375 ml (1 and a half cups) sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla essence (or seeds of 1 vanilla pod)

3 peaches, 3 pears, and a cup of strawberries (ripe, fresh fruit)

Method:

  1. In a medium-sized pot on the stove top, heat the water, sugar and vanilla and bring to a simmer.
  2. Half the large fruit and remove the pits/stones. Remove green tops from strawberries and keep them whole.
  3. Start with the larger fruit, and cook them in the liquid in batches, about 3-5 minutes at a time, untill just tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Cook the strawberries last, for just 1 minute, remove and set aside. Reserve the cooking liquid.
  4. Cool the fruit and liquid slightly, then return the fruit to the liquid to cool completely in the fridge.

Ingredients for spiced yoghurt:

  • 250 ml (1 cup) double cream greek yoghurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of fine cinnamon
  • seeds of 3 cardamom pods (remove husks and use a pestle and mortar to pound the seeds to a fine powder)
  • 2 teaspoons honey

Method:

Mix all of the ingredients for the spiced yoghurt together. Taste, and add more spices if desired. Serve with the poached fruit and a little of the poaching liquid.

Tip: the poached fruit will keep well in the refrigerator, covered, for a few days. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Credits:

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

Recipe development and preparation: Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Photographed by Tasha Seccombe

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

Easy peasy pavlova that’ll impress your guests

21 Mar

Pavlova with blueberries, raspberries and cream

Pavlova must be one of the most beautiful desserts in the world. The fantastic thing is that it’s dead easy to make, and it never seizes to impress my guests.

It is best to make it the night before, and just quickly assembly it when it is time for dessert. Then it only takes a minute to whip the cream and arrange the fruit. Anyone can do it!

Always pick fruit that is in season, that way your pavlova will be more economical and it will look sensational. A firm favourite is to use strawberries, but other fruit like blueberries, blackcurrants, raspberries, gooseberries, pomegranates, kiwi’s, black and green seedless grapes, diced mango, sliced banana and granadilla pulp make beautiful colourful pavlova toppings. You can also use nuts like flaked almonds to make it extra special, and dust the final product with icing sugar.

Here’s how I make a really easy pavlova that has a puffy soft centre, but a delicately crispy outside layer, topped with whipped cream and fruit.

Ingredients:

  • 6 x extra large egg whites
  • 500 g castor sugar
  • 3 teaspoons white vinegar or lemon juice
  • 3 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 250 ml cream, whipped untill just stiff (not too stiff)
  • roughly 2 handfuls of seasonal fruit
  • 50 ml berry coulis (or make your own by whizzing 2 tablespoons fruit with 1 tablespoon icing sugar)

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 150 degrees Celsius.
  2. Whisk egg whites in a big, clean bowl (with an electric whisk) untill 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 untill 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 untill 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. Cover with freshly whipped cream and arrange fruit on top of cream.
  11. Drizzle with berry coulis and sprinkle with nuts or dust with icing sugar.
  12. Slice and serve immediately! (the cream and fruit will make the meringue base soggy over time)

Tip: Another option would be to cover the pavlova with a mixture of fresh whipped cream (250 ml) and double cream Greek yoghurt (250 ml). Then cover with sliced fresh figs, chopped mixed nuts, and drizzle with honey. Sublime when in season!


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