When James and Vicky Peech, owners of The Peech Boutique Hotel in Jo’burg, find themselves in South Africa for Christmas, it’s all about tradition. Here are their recipes for a ruby grapefruit aperitif and mince pies – perfect for your festive season parties


(Measures per person)


  • 1T dry gin
  • 3T rosé wine
  • crushed ice
  • 3T ruby grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed

To serve

  • crushed ice
  • thinly sliced ruby grapefruit and fresh mint sprigs


1. Pour the gin and rosé wine over the crushed ice in a jug or individual glasses, then add the grapefruit juice and stir to combine.
2. Add a slice of grapefruit to each glass, top with crushed ice and serve with a sprig of fresh mint.


(Makes 20)


  • 2 cups dried mixed fruit
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds, finely chopped
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, coarsely grated
  • 40g butter, melted
  • 2T brandy
  • 3t finely grated lemon rind
  • 1T fresh lemon juice
  • 1t ground cinnamon
  • 1t mixed spice
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked
  • white sugar, for dusting
  • icing sugar, for dusting

For the pastry

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1/3 cup castor sugar
  • 160g chilled butter, chopped
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2T iced water


1. Finely chop half the dried mixed fruit and place it in a large bowl. Add the brown sugar, almonds, apple, butter, brandy, lemon rind, lemon juice, cinnamon, mixed spice, nutmeg and the remaining mixed fruit.
2. Stir until well combined. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside overnight, stirring occasionally, to macerate.
3. When ready to use, transfer the fruit mixture to a fine sieve over a bowl and stir to remove excess liquid.
4. To make the pastry, place the flour, sugar and butter in a food processor and process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and water, and process until the mixture just starts to come together. Turn onto a clean work surface, shape into a disc and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes to rest.
4. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
5. Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface until 5mm thick. Use an 8,5cm-diameter round pastry cutter to cut 20 discs from the pastry. Use a 5cm-diameter star-shaped pastry cutter to cut 20 stars from the remaining pastry.
6. Line twenty 80ml (1/3 cup) capacity muffin pans with the pastry discs. Divide the fruit mince among the pastry bases and top with the pastry stars. Brush the stars lightly with the egg and sprinkle with white sugar. Bake for 20–25 minutes or until light golden.
7. Set aside in the pans for 5 minutes to cool before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve dusted with icing sugar.