Simple and affordable desserts

Do you have a sweet tooth but always pressed for time and money when it comes to preparing a dish to cure your craving? Mount Nelson Hotel’s chef Dion Vengatass gives us his top four affordable desserts you can make in less than 15 minutes.

Banana bread 



  • 3 or 4 ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup sugar (can easily reduce to 3/4 cup)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • One pinch of salt
  • One 1/2 a cup of all-purpose flour



Begin by pre-heating your oven at 175°C. With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix. Add the flour last and continue mixing. Pour mixture into a buttered 4×8 inch loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour. Leave it to cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve or cut into 3cm slices and pan fry gently in some butter on both sides till it becomes crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. Serve with vanilla ice cream mixed with some Amarula liqueur to experience the lavish taste of this dessert. Simple but very tasty.



Peppermint Crisp Tart recipe


  • 1 x packet tennis biscuits
  • 1 x tin of caramel
  • 2 x 250 ml fresh cream (or low fat if you like)
  • 400g Peppermint Crisp chocolate bars



Cover the bottom of your dish with the tennis biscuits, making sure you cover the whole dish. Place the tin of caramel into a mixing bowl and mix until smooth.

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the cream until it is stiff.
Add the whipped cream and 100g of the grated peppermint crisp chocolate to the caramel and mix well.
Remember you are going to layer the tart, so don’t use all the mixture at once.
Spread the mixture evenly over the tennis biscuits.
Add another layer of tennis biscuits and caramel mixture and continue until you reach the top.
Sprinkle the remaining peppermint crisp over the top and place in the fridge for 1 hour to set.


Pumpkin fritters

700gr cooked pumpkin
a pinch of fine salt
60 g self-raising flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
30 g castor sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon powder
Vegetable oil, for frying




To cook butternut / pumpkin cut into cubes, and steam until tender (if whole).  If it came in a bag, snip off a corner and place in microwave for a few minutes until cooked. Mash it up in a mixing bowl. Measure out 2 cups of butternut / pumpkin, and add the salt and self-raising flour. You can then stir in the lightly beaten eggs. You should now have a batter that drops easily off a spoon.
Combine the caster sugar and cinnamon in a sugar shaker.
In a frying pan, heat a little vegetable oil and drop tablespoons of batter into the frying pan. Don’t overcrowd the pan; the batter will spread slightly. Turn the fritters and fry until done on both sides.
Shake some cinnamon sugar into the bottom of a heated dish and place the cooked fritters in the dish. Shake some more cinnamon sugar on top of the fritters and repeat the process with each layer.

Serve with some clotted cream seasoned with cinnamon sugar.




Toffee apple



15 small red delicious or pink lady apples, washed, dried

4 cups white sugar

1 cup water

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

2 teaspoons red liquid food colouring



Push a stick into each apple. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Place sugar and water into a heavy-based saucepan over low heat. Cook and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Stop stirring. Bring to the boil. Using a wet pastry brush, brush away sugar crystals on the sides of saucepan above syrup. Stir in cream of tartar and food colouring.

Reduce heat to low. Simmer toffee for 20 minutes or until it reaches hard crack stage. To check if it has reached this stage, add 1 teaspoon of toffee to a glass of ice-cold water.

Remove solidified toffee from water and bend it. The toffee should crack easily and not feel sticky. Once toffee is at this stage, remove from heat immediately

Wait until toffee stops bubbling then dip 1 apple into toffee. Tip pan on an angle to coat apple in toffee, especially around stick. Place onto prepared baking tray. Repeat with remaining apples. Allow to set at room temperature