Good food, great company and a stylish table is what you can expect when Gwyneth Smith of Verve Marketing (031 312 7692) invites you for a meal at her Durban home



For the  meringue:

  • 175g whole almonds, toasted
  • 200g white caster sugar
  • 200g light brown sugar
  • 50g demerara sugar
  • 6 egg whites
  • 15ml cornflour
  • 10ml white wine vinegar

For the strawberry sauce:

  • 600g strawberries
  • 30ml icing sugar, sieved

To assemble the dish:

  • 600ml cream
  • 15ml icing sugar
  • 500g seasonal berries (strawberries, hulled and halved, blueberries and cherries)
  • icing sugar, to decorate


1. Heat the oven to 140°C. Line 2 flat baking sheets with baking paper.
2. To make the meringues: chop 2/3 of the almonds in a food processor. Don’t let them become greasy or clump together. They should be in small pieces, not ground. Roughly chop the rest of the nuts with a knife.
3. Mix all the sugars together in a bowl. Beat the egg whites in a large bowl until stiff and then add the sugar in 3 batches, beating the mixture back to stiff after each addition. Add the cornflour and vinegar and keep beating until the meringue mixture is glossy and stiff. The beaters should begin to feel heavy when stirring.
4. Using a spatula, quickly fold in all the finely chopped nuts and most of the roughly chopped nuts.
5. Divide the mixture between the 2 baking sheets. Spread into 20cm circles and then scatter the remaining nuts over. Bake for an hour, then turn off the oven and leave the meringues inside to cool for an hour. Keep the oven door closed to prevent the meringue from cracking.
6. To make the strawberry sauce: purée the strawberries in a blender. Press through a sieve to remove the seeds and then sweeten with the icing sugar.
7. To assemble the meringue cake: sieve the icing sugar into the cream and whip until the cream just holds firm. Place one of the meringues onto a serving platter. Spread over half the cream. Using a spoon, swirl some of the strawberry sauce through the cream. Place the second meringue on top. Spread on the rest of the cream, swirl more strawberry sauce gently through the cream and top with the berries. Dust with a little icing sugar and serve the remaining strawberry sauce alongside.

Cook’s tip: You can prepare the meringues the day before.

This recipe serves 6–8.