This simple berry jelly is from our cookbook Fruit Art. Use any berries in season and know that it works equally well with slivers of granny smith apple or perfectly ripe pear. Depending on the size of your serving glasses or bowls, you can easily stretch this recipe out to serve eight people.

Pic: Malcolm Dare

Serves 4 to 5


400g raspberries (or other berries of your choice)
500ml cranberry juice
4 Tbsp sugar
2 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
1½ Tbsp agar-agar powder
125ml port
1 Tbsp lemon juice


Rinse the berries with cold water. Drain well. Pile into glasses (tall; short; martini; champagne – you choose!) and place in the fridge while making the jelly.

Heat the cranberry juice in a medium saucepan with the sugar, cloves and cinnamon, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Don’t allow it to boil. Cover and set aside for about 15 minutes for the flavours of the spices to infuse.

Meanwhile, pour about ¼ cup of water into a small bowl and sprinkle the agar-agar powder over the surface of the water and allow to absorb – 5 minutes should be sufficient. Add the agar-agar to the warm liquid and stir until it dissolves. Stir in the port and lemon juice.

Strain the jelly into a jug, then pour it onto the berries in the glasses. Return them to the fridge to set; about 4 to 5 hours will do it.­


Agar-agar is a star ingredient that is often overlooked. It is the perfect substitute for bone-derived gelatine for plant-based and vegan folk. It is a gelling agent made from Japanese seaweed called ten gusa. Agar-agar has lots of minerals known to aid digestion and regulate blood pressure.

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