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Fusion front runner: Formosa Restaurant

Atmosphere and flavour collide at Formosa, Ashburton’s standout Asian-fusion restaurant perfect for post-race dinner, fine dining, cocktails or dessert.

The Formosa experience starts from the moment you walk in the door; where you are greeted with a vibrant red brick wall emblazoned with flowers and cluster of red parasols floating above.

With beautiful, polished décor in a spacious setting, Formosa has three roomy and uniquely themed spaces: The VIP Room, Chinese Lantern Area, and the Red Parasol Area that are perfect for an intimate date night, a family lunch or event for up to 120 guests.

It also has an open kitchen so you can witness the creation of your food and engage with the friendly chefs while they are in action preparing beautifully presented, authentically Asian dishes.

The fabulous food pairs beautifully with the delightful wines and cocktail menus and can be prepared for dine in or takeaway, or customised for an event, complete with vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.

A fine dessert menu and new high tea offering provide even more options for post-race festivities, or something special to do this spring and summer.

Open Monday to Saturday, 11.30am to 2pm and 4.30pm to 8.30pm.

Phone 03-308 7874 or email to make a booking


Apple, lemon + thyme crumble recipe

I feel like all too often we think of apples merely as the base of a dessert, to which we add berries or other more vibrant fruits. Here I wanted to celebrate the humble apple in all its glory, adding only a little lemon and thyme to accentuate, not cover-up, the beautiful natural sweet and sour flavour of in-season apples.



For a dairy-free or vegan version, use 60ml (1/4 cup) solid virgin coconut oil, plus a pinch of fine sea salt in place of the butter. The results are not quite the same, but still yum.

Any leftovers are lovely eaten cold with yoghurt for breakfast, or warmed through if you have the time and/or can be bothered!

If like me, you like to plan ahead to make life easier, double up the crumble recipe and freeze half in a zip-lock bag for later use.


By Emma Galloway from A Year In My Real Food Kitchen – Harper Collins 2016


Serves 4-6


4 large granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
4 large pink lady apples, peeled, cored and sliced
The finely grated zest of one lemon

85g (2/3 cup) sliced almonds
70g (1/2 cup) fine brown rice flour
55g (1/2 cup) ground almonds
70g cold butter, chopped into small pieces
50g (1/4 cup) muscovado or unrefined raw sugar
3 teaspoons finely chopped thyme


Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Place sliced apples and lemon zest in a saucepan, add a little splash of water, cover with a lid and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until apple is tender. Transfer to a two-litre ovenproof dish (or four to six smaller ones if you’d like to make individual crumbles).

Place sliced almonds in a dry frying pan over medium-high heat and cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring often until lightly toasted. Remove from the heat and set aside. Put rice flour, ground almonds and butter in a bowl. Use your hands to rub in the butter until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs (it will feel a little more moist than regular crumble at this stage). Stir in sugar, toasted almonds and thyme. Scatter some crumble mixture over the apples, then squeeze the rest of the crumble together with your hands to form large clumps before gently scattering on top.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes for one large dish, or 30 to 35 minutes for smaller ones, until the top is golden brown and the filling bubbling up and over the crumble in places. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, vanilla custard or plain yoghurt.


All scream for ice cream: Ice Cream Charlie

A lot of us have happy memories associated with ice cream – summer nights, walks along the beach, a first date or a 60th anniversary. This tasty treat is a crowd pleaser that brings joy with just one lick. Ice Cream Charlie is home of the Vanilla Ice and, as such, Kiwi hearts are the home of Ice Cream Charlie.


The ice cream connoisseurs have been serving New Zealanders, specifically Cantabrians, for more than 100 years, with the first ‘Ice Cream Charlie’ (Sali Mahomet) serving from his cart in Cathedral Square in 1903.

Since then there have been seven owners but they each share the same philosophy of having a product that is 100 percent natural, using only the best New Zealand ingredients.

Their Vanilla Ice is not too creamy and not too icy and their raspberry sauce or fruit toppings make for a great pairing.

This is why they are the perfect people to cater for your next event, be it a work party, birthday or even your wedding.

Bring those happy memories to your next event – this delicious delicacy is good enough to make anyone giddy with excitement.

For more information on how you can hire this awesome team see below.


Black forest in a glass

Whether you’ve got leftover brownie or cake to use up, or you make one from scratch, this rich Black Forest is a treat to tempt any Valentine.


Cake and cherry mix
4 slices of chocolate cake or brownie
2 tablespoons of a cherry liqueur
410g can of pitted black cherries
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 stick of cinnamon
2 teaspoons cornflour
4 scoops vanilla ice cream

Chocolate Sauce
100g chocolate, melted
1/2 cup of cream

Cake and cherry mix
Break cake or brownie into small pieces, sprinkle with cherry liqueur and set aside.

Drain and reserve half a cup of liquid from the pitted black cherries. Place 1/2 cup of the cherry syrup in a saucepan with white sugar and the cinnamon stick. Cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved. Bring this to the boil, before removing from heat.

Dissolve the two teaspoons of cornflour in one tablespoon of water, then add this cornflour mixture to the cherry syrup mixture and cook over a medium heat until sauce boils and thickens.

Remove pan from heat, discard cinnamon stick, then stir in cherries and set aside.

Combine melted chocolate and cream in a small bowl and mix well.

Place half the cake into the base of four individual serving glasses.

Add half the cherry mixture to each glass, then top with remaining cake and cherry mixture. Place a scoop of ice cream on top then pour over chocolate sauce.

Serve immediately.