mixed berry tart

mixed berry tart | The Secret Life of Bee

This mixed berry tart is the perfect dessert for a summer gathering and with Christmas around the corner i’m already starting to plan our menu and test out some old favourites. Summer in South Africa brings with it my happiest time of year. Berries are in season and beach days are in full swing!

mixed berry tart | The Secret Life of Bee

So because we spend Christmas at the beach and not building a snowman we love having a seafood braai with plenty of fresh salads, a lot of white wine and something fresh and light for dessert. This berry tart satisfies the sweet tooth rather perfectly with its super creamy luxurious almond cream filling and bursts of fresh tart berries. It’s also supremely easy to make so more time to frolic in the sea and concentrate on nursing your wine bottle glass.

mixed berry tart | The Secret Life of Bee

I know blind baking is a pain but just do it. Especially with this tart. You really want a nice crispy tart shell to contrast the velvet like filling. If berries aren’t your thing or not in season you can use plenty of other fruit! Plums and apricots would be a dream! Poached pears are also a winner! Spice them up with some cinnamon and red wine and tummies will be very happy indeed.

Mixed Berry Tart

serves 6-8

Ingredients:

Pastry:

  • 200g flour
  • 100g butter
  • 5g salt
  • 20g icing sugar
  • 5ml cold water
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1 egg

Filling:

  • 100g butter, softened
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 25g self raising flour
  • 100g ground almonds
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp brandy
  • two handfuls mixed berries of your choice

Method:

Preheat oven to 180˚C.

Begin with the pastry dough. Whisk flour, sugar and salt together. Add butter and work with your fingers into a wet sandy consistency. Add the egg and vanilla and bring together into a dough. Add the tsp of cold water if necessary. Roll dough gently into a ball, flatten slightly, wrap well in cling film and place in the fridge to rest for at least 30 min.

To make the filling- Whisk the butter and sugar together until very light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and whisk. Finally add the flour, ground almonds, lemon zest and brandy. Set aside.

On a lightly floured surface roll out the pastry dough. Line the base and sides of a greased 20cm tart shell. Press well into the corners and trim the edges. Fill with baking paper and blind bake the pastry case with either rice or baking beans for 10 minutes. Remove beans and baking paper and blind bake further for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven.

Fill the tart shell with the almond cream and scatter with seasonal berries. Press them into the filling very lightly so they stick out a bit.

Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown and set. Allow to cool before slicing and serving.

mixed berry tart | The Secret Life of Bee

mixed berry tart | The Secret Life of Bee

mixed berry tart | The Secret Life of Bee

*If you’d like to own one of these gorgeous Protea Dreams platters provided by Sugar and Vice then just click HERE!

tuna poke bowl

tuna poke bowl | The Secret Life of Bee

Poke, pronounced ‘poh-keh’, is a scrumptious Hawaiian dish that is basically deconstructed sushi in a bowl. So if you’re really rubbish with chopsticks you can finally eat sushi with a fork and not be judged. Well, judged a bit less. I adore this dish because of the different textures and flavour combos. The crunchy raw veg and creamy avocado are a match made in heaven for the salty fish and sweet rice. It really is such a well balanced dish, takes no time at all to put together and looks darn pretty too. Check out this awesome article from HuffPost for a run down on all you need to know about poke!

tuna poke bowl | The Secret Life of Bee

One of the most important and delicious flavours in this dish is the sesame seed oil. I used the Organic Sesame Seed Oil from Lemcke Oils. It has a subtle nutty flavour and adds depth to the dish without being overpowering. It’s a great oil to eat as is on salads and dishes such as this one but it is also a great oil to cook with as it has a high smoke point. In a dish like this it is very important to use high quality, fresh ingredients because it is such a simple dish, each ingredient really needs to shine.

tuna poke bowl | The Secret Life of Bee

The fish is obviously paramount. Don’t make this unless you have the freshest and very best quality of tuna or salmon you can get your hands on. When I got home with this chunk of tuna I had to stop the husband from eating it straight off my chopping board with a dash of soy sauce. It was sensational. As for the accompaniments… there are no strict rules. You can add and experiment with all sorts of veggies. You can leave out the rice as well for a deliciously healthy low carb meal. Poke can be as versatile as you allow it to be. This has definitely become a weeknight staple for us.

Tuna Poke Bowl

serves 4

Ingredients:

For the fish:

  • 400-500g fresh tuna, skinned and deboned
  • 75ml soy sauce
  • 45ml Organic Sesame Oil
  • 1.5 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Sriracha or more to taste
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced

For the rest of the bowl:

  • 1 cup sushi rice
  • 60ml rice wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • grated carrot
  • shaved cucumber
  • sliced radish
  • radish sprouts
  • nori
  • avocado
  • spring onions

Method:

Begin with the rice. Rinse the rice well in a sieve until the water runs clear and then cook according to package instructions.

*While working at The Mandarin Oriental in Paris I was taught to make sushi like a pro. Granted it was filled with foie gras and mango which was not very traditional but it was delish. Rinse the rice until the water runs completely clear. Cook the rice in just enough water to cover it with a fine layer of water sitting on top of it. About 3mm. Also only ever use a wooden spoon when working with sushi rice and do so gently or you’ll break the grains. We even had a dedicated wooden bowl for mixing the seasoning into the rice if you want to go to extremes!

While the rice is cooking mix the rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a small pan. Heat until the sugar and salt dissolve. Cool.

Once the rice has cooked and cooled gently fold in the seasoning using a wooden spoon.

Prep the veggies.

Finally mix all the seasoning ingredients for the fish in a large bowl.

Slice the tuna into cubes and toss gently in the marinade.

Assemble the poke bowl with rice, veggies, avocado, nori, tuna, toasted sesame seeds and little extras like pickled ginger and wasabi if desired.

tuna poke bowl | The Secret Life of Bee

tuna poke bowl | The Secret Life of Bee

 

*Disclaimer: Delicious oils supplied by the awesome folks from Lemcke Oils