Cookery teacher and caterer Danielle du Toit of Pheka ( prefers simple, seasonal dishes that complement the relaxed style of entertaining she loves



  • 6 firm pears (not too soft)
  • 1 bottle red wine
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • a squeeze of honey
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • few cloves
  • pinch allspice
  • few star anise or a vanilla pod

To serve:
natural yoghurt mixed with a touch of castor sugar and sprinkled with cinnamon
fresh mint


1. Peel the fruit leaving the stalks intact. Slice off the base of each pear so that they can stand upright on their own in a saucepan. Set aside.
2. Place the wine in a saucepan and add the sugar, a squeeze of honey and the spices; stir over a moderate heat until the sugar has completely dissolved.
3. Add the pears, ensuring they’re covered by the wine. Gently simmer for about 30 minutes; don’t cook too fast as the fruit will break up. Turn the pears in the wine so that they cook and colour evenly. When they are just tender, remove them from the saucepan using a slotted spoon.
4. Increase the temperature and boil the remaining liquid; allow it to reduce to create a syrupy sauce.
5. Pour the sauce over the pears and serve hot or cold with the sweetened yoghurt garnished with a sprig of fresh mint.

Cook’s note: The pears can be prepared ahead of time and will keep perfectly in the fridge for about a week. If you’re pressed for time, you can add a touch of cornflour to thicken the red wine sauce; mix a little of the warm sauce with the cornflour first and then add it back to the hot pot.

This recipe serves 6.